Jeff Kolpack, Published November 05 2010
Kolpack: Another dramatic week in the life of mid-major programsThe comparisons between Centenary College in the Summit League and Morningside College in the old North Central Conference were hauntingly similar. Both struggled to stay competitive in most sports and both appropriately decided a nonscholarship lower level was best.
And this week when the Summit’s Southern Utah finally got into the league it always wanted – the Big Sky Conference – nobody argued. But then things got interesting.
Conference expansion, once a snail’s pace process, went uncharacteristically warp speed.
The University of North Dakota cancelled its Summit site visit and accepted an offer from the Big Sky. The Big Sky also said South Dakota was on the way, but the Missouri Valley Football Conference made a late break and intercepted the pass.
It was the most dramatic turnover in the history of mid-major conferences.
In a matter of a day or two, the Summit went from a questionable eight-team league to reaffirming its central U.S. footprint with nine schools and some momentum. But the question remains: Why did the MVFC act so fast?
Because the Big Sky acted faster.