Conference expansion has moved beyond the Big Ten and Pac Ten and made its way into the division two ranks. The 14 member Northern Sun Conference, which includes the Upper Iowa University, is considering adding two new members. Minot State of North Dakota and the University of Sioux Falls have applied for membership in the league.
While a BCS conference may expand to help produce a better television package Upper Iowa athletic director David Miller says there are also advantages to expansion at division two as well. Miller says it would allow them to go to division play, which would help them save some money in travel costs, something he says is important at their level.
Miller says a larger conference can also help alleviate scheduling difficulties by having regional games, as he says other conferences are looking at expanding for the same reason.
Miller is not against expanding the Northern Sun but he wants to make sure the right schools are added. He says he wants to look at areas where they don’t already have schools, such as Nebraska, where they could court Nebraska Kearney or Chadron State. Miller says adding such schools would be a feather in their cap.
Miller believes 16 teams is the maximum and going beyond that would be harmful in the long run. He says it becomes a scheduling nightmare going beyond the 16 team league, while an 8 team, 12 team or 16 team league is a good thing.
A decision on Minot State and Sioux Falls is expected this fall.