It’s official: UND to Big Sky in 2012

From Big Sky Conference press reelase:

The Big Sky Conference is privileged to announce that the University of North Dakota and Southern Utah University have accepted invitations to become core members of the Division I conference.

Both institutions received formal invitations from the league Friday, Oct. 29, advancing a process that began when the presidents of the nine current Big Sky Conference core universities approved expansion plans at their annual fall meeting on Oct. 20. Both institutions will officially join the Big Sky on July 1, 2012.

As to the question of South Dakota:

The Big Sky Conference is also on the verge of announcing the addition of the University of South Dakota as a 12th core member.

“We are negotiating with South Dakota,’’ Fullerton said. “They want to be part of the Big Sky Conference and we want them to be a member. They are just awaiting a final approval process. Approval processes are different at each school.’’

UND national television deal puts Sioux sports in 54 million homes

Most people who read this space already know this, but UND has struck a major television deal for national television distribution of University of North Dakota athletics.

From UND’s press release:

Fox College Sports is available on cable in 54 million homes nationwide.

Fox College Sports will distribute three home football games, all home men’s hockey games and 12 home basketball games in 2009-10. FCS will also broadcast the weekly Sioux Sports Extra magazine show.

By my count that’s:

  • 3 football games
  • 12 basketball games
  • 20 hockey games

Of course, that’s only counting home games.

Playing higher level competition in football and basketball increases the number of UND’s road games that will appear on TV. One away football game this season, UND @ Northwestern State, has already been nationally televised.

Several other WCHA teams already have national distribution of some of their home games, so UND fans may also be able to catch some men’s hockey games from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Denver each season.

Which games are broadcast as part of UND’s deal?

From UND Men’s Basketball Schedule:
Sat, Nov. 21 UMKC 1:00p
Sat, Dec. 19 Northern Iowa 1:00p
Sat, Jan. 23 South Dakota 7:00p
Thu, Feb. 11 NJIT 8:00p
Thu, Feb. 25 at Chicago St 7:30p
Thu, Mar. 04 Houston Baptist 8:00p

From UND Women’s Basketball Schedule:
Wed, Nov. 18 Wyoming 7:00p
Fri, Dec. 18 Northern Arizona 7:00p
Sat, Jan. 23 South Dakota 5:00p
Thu, Feb. 11 NJIT 6:00p
Thu, Feb. 25 at Chicago St 5:00p
Thu, Mar. 04 Houston Baptist 6:00p

From UND Football Schedule:
Sat, Oct. 03 South Dakota 4:00p
Sat, Oct. 17 Sioux Falls 1:00p
Sat, Oct. 31 Cal Poly 4:00p

From UND Men’s Hockey Schedule:
All 20 home games!

How much total UND programming is this?

For an idea of how much the Sioux are now on national TV, here are UND’s appearances on FCS in the next month.

From the FCS Printable Schedules:

All times Eastern.

10/03/09 South Dakota at North Dakota* Atlantic 5:00pm
10/17/09 Sioux Falls at North Dakota* Central 2:00pm
10/31/09 Cal Poly at North Dakota Atlantic 5:00pm
* FCS Exclusive

10/04/09 Manitoba at North Dakota (exhibition)* Atlantic 7:00pm
10/09/09 Merrimack at North Dakota* Atlantic 8:30pm
10/10/09 Merrimack at North Dakota* Central 8:00pm
10/16/09 Minnesota at North Dakota Central 8:30pm
10/17/09 Minnesota at North Dakota Atlantic 8:00pm
* FCS Exclusive

Sioux Sports Extra
9/30/09 6:30p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 5 (D)
9/30/09 1:00 a (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 5 (D)
10/02/09 4:30p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 5 (D)
10/02/09 2:00a (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 5 (D)
10/07/09 6:30 p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 5 (D)
10/07/09 1:30 a (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 6 (D)
10/09/09 4:30 p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 6 (D)
10/10/09 7:30 p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 6 (D)
10/14/09 6:30 p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 6 (D)
10/14/09 1:00 a (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 7 (D)
10/16/09 4:30 p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 7 (D)
10/16/09 2:00 a (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 7 (D)
10/21/09 6:30 p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 7 (D)
10/21/09 1:00 a (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 8 (D)
10/23/09 4:30 p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 8 (D)
10/23/09 2:00 a (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 8 (D)
10/28/09 6:30 p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 8 (D)
10/28/09 1:00 a (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 9 (D)
10/30/09 4:30 p (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 9 (D)
10/30/09 2:00 a (CS) UND Fighting Sioux Sports Extra 09 (FCS) 9 (D)

More publicity from FCS itself

The Fox College Sports web site is already flush with UND ads. These were all taken from the front page within the last two days:

And here are FCS’s “weekly highlights” for this week:

That’s some good company.

What do people think of us? Forums:
Hockey: UND Hockey via Satellite
Hockey: FCS to carry UND hockey
Football: TV coverage
Football: USD at UND television coverage
UND’s Reclassification to D-I: FSSN on Fox College Sports

Or, if you’re a tweeter:
Twitter search Fox College Sports Sioux

End of summer — welcome back!

Were you out on an Alaskan fishing boat all summer, spent all your spare time scheming how to get your share of the “stimulus” dollars, busy hosting the Tony Awards, or just otherwise lost track of UND athletics during the summer?  I’ve thrown together a quick cheat sheet of UND summer athletics happenings you might have missed.


Moves around the NCAA

Dean Blais was selected to coach Nebraska-Omaha

Bemidji State and Nebraska Omaha will join the WCHA in 2010-11 (WCHA release)

The CCHA denied Alabama-Huntsville membership (many thought the WCHA poaching UNO would create an opening for UAH)

Player moves

After playing a season in the USHL, Forney signed with the Thrashers, will not return to UND (collegehockeynews story)

Frattin was dismissed from the team following after a DUI capped some off-season troubles ( release)

Women’s hockey — The University of Minnesota was stunned to see the Lamoureux twins ask to be released from their scholarships so they could transfer to UND (StarTribune story)


Josh Murray declared academically ineligible.

Like many other sports, football got new uniforms (photo from  See more on UND’s new identity branding below.

UND recently announced that it is traveling to Montana for a game in 2010, with a return game expected in 2013.  With an eye on Montana’s proclivity to take the home game then buy out the road game, UND secured a $100,000 buyout clause.  This topic is still getting lots of play in the scheduling forum thread.

It’s not news, but the talk of UND football this summer has definitely been the Labor Day weekend season opener at Texas Tech (Sept. 5 at 6pm CT).


A.D. Faison’s contract was extended through 2012 (UND release)

UND’s D-I transition mate, the University of South Dakota, was admitted to the Summit League (USD release) beginning in 2011-12.  Summit commissioner Tom Douple had, somewhat surprisingly, previously weighed in on the UND nickname controversy, asserting that the conference would not take a look at UND until the controversy is “resolved” (the State of ND settlement with the NCAA apparently being insufficient).

Which leads to…

The battle over UND’s nickname is coming to a close, one way or another.  On May 15, 2009, the N.D. State board of Higher Education unanimously decreed that UND must eliminate the Fighting Sioux nickname by Oct. 1 unless it secures 30-year agreements from the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes granting approval to continue using the Fighting Sioux name.

Which leads to…

UND revised its Notre Dame-style interlocking ND logo to bear slightly less of a resemblance to Notre Dame’s logo.  The letters are slightly shadowed and they reversed which part of the N strokes overlap the D. (announcement, logo identity sheet)

I kind of threw this list together by browsing the forums and news headlines.  What did I miss?

A need to get defensive?

There’s been a lot of chatter about the perceived decline of the UND defense and when it began. Though stats don’t tell the whole story — each season includes a different set of opponents, and the team plays to win the game not to beat the stats — they’re an interesting place to start. Thanks to UND92,96 in the forum for doing the legwork, here are this year’s defensive stats compared to the past few years.

2000 217 ypg 13.3 ppg
2001 191 ypg 13.0 ppg
2002 276 ypg 19.2 ppg
2003 304 ypg 19.3 ppg
2004 250 ypg 10.5 ppg
2005 262 ypg 13.0 ppg
2006 314 ypg 17.9 ppg
2007 320 ypg 19.7 ppg
2008 368 ypg 25.3 ppg

Regular-season only.

Submit questions for Coach Mussman online

UND asked me to pass on to you that you can submit questions for Coach Mussman to:

Please include your name and hometown, and Coach Mussman might answer your question live on Sioux Sports Extra! You can watch on WDAZ if you’re in the right area, or online by clicking on the link.

Sioux Sports Extra! broadcast info

Football evening games

While a student at UND, I never gave much thought to the fact that football games were played on Saturday afternoons.  I went to some games, and if I had other things to do I listened on the radio.  When I lived in Madison, WI, I often cheerfully began tailgating at Oakcrest Tavern at 9am in anticipation of an 11am game.  I’ve always seen a typical college football game as being played around noon.

On the flip side, fans on the SiouxSports forum have long noticed the attendance drops on big hunting weekends, observed that Saturday afternoon games are inaccessible to those who work on Saturdays, and complained that attending an early afternoon game consumes an entire day for families who have to travel to reach the game.

Sioux fans often use NDSU as a yardstick for a successful I-AA/FCS football transition.  The Bison, who managed to increase attendance from an average of 11567 five years ago to 18141 last year, scheduled the following game times for this season: 7pm (1), 6pm (3), 3pm (1), 1pm (1).  SDSU, which has similarly bumped attendance from 5547 to 11218 over their transition, scheduled the following home times for this season: 6pm (3), 2pm (2), 1pm (1).

Those attendance increases are largely on the back of transition excitement and success on the field, but the results are in on UND’s first Thursday night game as a I-AA/FCS team — attendance was an impressive 11434.  (box score)  That’s the largest opening home crowd ever for the Alerus, and the 10th largest crowd in the building’s eight year history.

Local print media are blogging about it (they like day games for lead-time reasons), and fans are having substantial discussions (in which they note that the crowd was not only large, but particularly loud and engaged).

A big crowd not only helps with revenue but actually helps the home team on the field — just ask any of UND’s past playoff opponents who had the misfortune of being sent to the Alerus in the post-season.  In fact, in last Thursday’s game, Texas A&M-Kingsville had eight false starts.

UND has one more evening home game this season — Southern Utah on Nov. 8.  Given UND’s usually precipitous November attendance drops, many will be watching to see how attendance fares for that first home game vs. a I-AA/FCS opponent. UND football has a new coach, a new athletic director, a new division, and new opponents on future schedules.  UND is taking bold moves and fan excitement is high.  I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised to see more night games in the future.

2008 Football Schedule pending?

As UND prepares to release the football schedule for it’s first year of D-I FCS (I-AA) football, fans have deduced that the schedule will probably look something like this:

Aug. 28 Texas A&M-Kingsville
Sept. 6 St. Cloud St.
Sept. 13 UW-La Crosse
Sept. 18 @ Idaho St.
Sept. 27 @ Southeastern Louisiana
Oct. 4 OPEN
Oct. 11 OPEN
Oct. 18 Western Washington
Oct. 25 @ UC Davis
Nov. 1 @ Southern Illinois
Nov. 8 Southern Utah
Nov. 15 OPEN
Nov. 22 @ South Dakota

Note — this is not the official schedule, but a fan compilation of known and rumored games

The first year of the transition is the toughest to schedule, because UND is considered a “non-counter” for teams with aspirations of making the I-AA playoffs. The inevitable comparisons with first-year schedules for other recently transitioned schools have arisen, and bincitysioux came through again with a breakdown of 1st year D-I schedules for current and former Great West members.

SDSU HOME GAMES: three DII’s, one transitional (GWFC game)
SDSU ROAD GAMES: two transitional, 5 established DI’s

UC DAVIS HOME GAMES: four DII’s, one transitional (future GWFC team), one established DI (future GWFC team)
UC DAVIS ROAD GAMES: one DII (future GWFC team), three established DI’s

NDSU HOME GAMES: one non-scholarship, one NAIA, one DII, three established DI’s (2 GWFC games)
NDSU ROAD GAMES: three transitionals (GWFC games), two established DI’s

USD HOME GAMES: three NAIA, one DII, one transitional (GWFC game)
USD ROAD GAMES: five established DI’s (2 GWFC games)

N. COLORADO ROAD GAMES: one DII, one transitional (GWFC team) four established DI’s

UND HOME GAMES: one non-scholarship, three DII’s, one established DI (GWFC game)
UND ROAD GAMES: one transitional (GWFC game), 4 established DI’s (1 GWFC game)

While every football fan should have been hoping for a better schedule, this is on par with what other transitional teams were able to put together.

While comments here are always welcome, you might as well just head over to the UND 2008 Schedule thread and check on the latest.

Lennon leaves and the foolish blame game begins

This whole “it must be somebody’s fault that Dale Lennon left” line is total bunk. Yesterday on KFAN, Scott Swygman and Wayne Nelson of the Grand Forks Herald said it wasn’t widely known, but other schools had taken serious looks at Lennon and he’d taken serious looks at them.

Quite obviously, UND’s head football coach was considering better opportunities for some time. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. Anyone with an ounce of sense should have understood that the moment Lennon won a national championship in 2001, there was a chance that he’d be offered a job he couldn’t refuse. Frankly, I think UND was extremely fortunate to have had a coach of his caliber here for so long.

But there were some who claimed that if not for former UND athletic director Tom Buning, Lennon would stay at UND for his entire coaching career. The university got rid of Buning and Lennon left anyway. So much for the accuracy of “inside” information.  The idea that a witch hunt should be conducted to purge the university of those responsible for Lennon’s departure is simply ridiculous.

The fact is, UND bent over backward to create a situation that would help keep Lennon here and it wasn’t enough. Until UND joins the ranks of the top dogs in college football, there will always be schools that can offer its coaches more money and better situations. It’s just a fact of life. It’s no single person’s fault.

When a coach as competent and as popular as Lennon leaves, it’s probably natural that the finger pointing and blame game takes place. But it’s unseemly, counter productive and childish.

Lennon is gone and publicly leveling accusations against certain individuals at UND isn’t going to change that. It’s time to get over it, move on and set the stage for UND’s next football coach to successfully transition the program to the next level. Public backbiting and infighting serves no useful purpose, a lesson Fighting Sioux fans should have learned from recent experience.

A look back at UND vs. Grand Valley

All-time: GVSU leads 3-2
At GVSU: GVSU leads 2-0
At UND: UND leads 1-0
Neutral: Tied 1-1

How GVSU’s past six seasons have ended

2001 – playoff loss vs UND
2002 – National Champ
2003 – National Champ
2004 – playoff loss at UND
2005 – National Champ
2006 – National Champ

How UND’s past six seasons have ended

2001 – National Champ
2002 – Did not make playoffs
2003 – playoff loss vs GVSU
2004 – playoff loss at Pitt St.
2005 – playoff loss at GVSU
2006 – playoff loss at GVSU

December 8, 2001

UND 17, GVSU 14
NCAA National Championship Game
Florence, AL

The Sioux were down 10-14 with 38 seconds left in the game. UND was on its own 41 and facing a fourth down. A missed tackle resulted in a pass to the Sioux tight end completing for 58 yards, setting the Sioux up with a first-and-goal and seconds on the clock. Jed Perkerewiez punched it in for the Sioux, sealing UND’s first national championship.

I was still pruning messages after 60 days and didn’t have a football forum yet. In fact, I think I added it due to the upsurge in interest on the site following UND’s first football national championship.

“Sioux Football, Way to go!” thread

December 13, 2003

UND 3, GVSU 10
NCAA National Championship Game
Florence, AL
Ugly weather and staunch defenses on both sides resulted in very little offensive production this game. The deciding, and only, touchdown came after GVSU returned a UND fumble in the red zone.

GVSU drove to the 1-yard line on the opening drive, but had to settle for a field goal in what would turn out to be the only points of the half.

UND drove to the GVSU 7 to open the second half, but the GVSU defense returned a turnover to the UND 20, setting their offense up for the only TD of the game, giving GVSU a 10-0 lead.

The Sioux again drove into Laker territory, but missed the 43-yard FG attempt when the kicker slipped in the mud. On subsequent drives in the fourth, the Sioux missed a 46-yard FG attempt and nailed a 35-yard one. GVSU missed a 43-yard attempt with about 4 minutes remaining, leaving UND one last chance.

In the game’s final drive, the Sioux were hoping to repeat their 2001 performance as they drove to a 1st-and-10 at the Grand Valley 17. However, the GVSU defense held and GVSU took the honor of having won two of the last three championships instead of UND.

Notably, GVSU did not have home field for any of its post-season games in this championship season. game thread
My photos from the game
My road trip to the game

November 27, 2004

UND 19, GVSU 15
NCAA Quarterfinals
Grand Forks, ND game thread

Between the 2003 and 2004 seasons, the NCAA realigned Division II, putting GVSU and UND in the same region. That meant we had seen the last GVSU vs. UND national championship game, and that the two teams would instead meet in the regionals.

The first such meeting occurred in Grand Forks, as GVSU had lost two games in the regular season. GVSU led 9-3 going into the fourth, when the scoring seesaw began. A 34 yard drive culminating in a Sioux field goal was answered by a 76 yard Laker drive for a TD, bringing the score to 15-6 GVSU (missed PAT). The Sioux answered with a 68 yard TD drive, the first UND TD against the Laker defense in seven quarters, leaving the Lakers with a 15-12 lead (on another missed PAT). The game was decided when UND sacked GVSU’s quarterback and forced a fumble, setting up a UND possession that would lead to the game-winning TD.

November 19, 2005

UND 3, GVSU 17
NCAA 2nd Round
Allendale, MI

The stat of the game:
Fumbles Lost: UND 3, GVSU 0

In UND’s first trip to Lubbers Stadium, GVSU scored TDs on consecutive drives of 85 and 69 yards with the wind in the 2nd quarter. Those two scores proved to be the margin of victory, as the Laker defense kept UND out of the end zone, including a four-down stop against the Sioux on a 1st and goal from the 3.

The Sioux were plagued by a slow start, as GVSU posted 208 yards of offense in the first half, while UND posted only 105. UND ended the game with 332 yards of total offense to GVSU’s 286.

December 2, 2006

UND 20, GVSU 30
NCAA Quarterfinals
Allendale, MI

Sioux comeback bid falls short game thread

GVSU media relations’ description of this game opens:
“The play of the game between Grand Valley State and North Dakota might have come just after the coin toss. Grand Valley State won the toss and elected to defer to the second half, while the Fighting Sioux decided to go against the wind in the first quarter. That decision proved costly.”

I proposed early on that we played the wind wrong, while others noted bigger problems.

The bottom-line to this game is GVSU came out ready to play and used the wind advantage to run up the score to 27-0 by the end of the first. UND clawed back, scoring 20 points in the remaining three quarters, but also left plenty of points on the field.

I wonder what UND could have done if it GVSU hadn’t had the luxury of defending a 27 point lead for the final three quarters, but there’s no doubt that the team that played better football won this day.

Lakers Vs. Sioux VI

Well, Jim wanted to get an opinion of a Grand Valley State University Laker fan on the upcoming football game between GVSU and UND, and just general thoughts on the quick little rivalry, and well, I figured I might as well give it a shot.  All in all, it has been a flat out blast playing you guys and it’s just not going to be the same next year looking at the playoff brackets without North Dakota in the mix.  So, here are some thoughts on some of our past matchups, and a little look back at it all. 

Sure the 2001 NC game really hurt for us when we’re up with like a minute left and then GV blitzes and misses that tackle that lets the Sioux make that long gain in which leads to the go ahead score for the Sioux.  That really sucked, and well, they would pull my GVSU fan card if I didn’t mention the fact that if Curt Anes was healthy, the Lakers would have put up a lot more points on the Sioux defense that day. 

2003, now that was a game there.  Back and forth all day, and us poor Laker fans having visions of 2001 running through our minds on that last UND drive.  Luck for us, we get that interception to seal the win that year. 

2004, Well, this is the year when I started to have a low opinion of the NCAA when they shifted the GLIAC west into the Northwest region along with the NCC.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this rivalry, is that they’re all a bunch of bums and idiots down there in Indianapolis.  I could say worse about them, but I’m sure you all have an even lower opinion of them than what I do.  With that shift, it ruined a great possible championship game matchup and left it at best, a regional final game.  Not what this matchup deserves, but eh, I guess we were spoiled in just meeting up twice in Alabama now weren’t we?  Still, it was a pretty close game, with the Sioux getting the better of the Lakers that time.

2005 and 2006, The Sioux travel to Lubbers both times and well, now it’s pretty well established that post season matchups between our two schools are destine to happen for as long as both of us are in Division Two.  The Lakers managed to get the better of the Sioux both times out on the icy windswept field of Lubbers stadium, but they were both games were everybody’s mettle was tested.  No sissy paddy cake games like what some other regions are like.  Both were some hard hitting games where the snot was sent flying on both sides and a few players wanting to get a license plate number of that truck that hit them. 

And so, it brings us to 2007.  And well, as I’m sure you’re all aware of, it will be the last time the Lakers and Sioux will have this donnybrook in the playoffs.  The Sioux will be moving on to D1, and well, us here in Laker land will be sad to see you guys go.  But for the Sioux, it’s a wise move for them, given your facilities, fan base, and general support you guys have in North Dakota.  Plus, that Ag College to the south going up to D1 did put a lot of pressure on UND to move up.  All in all, you guys will be missed by Division Two.  You guys were a great example of what D2 should be.  UND has been great competition for GVSU and made the Lakers raise their game up.

For those of you that do make it to the game, I’ll see you out at the Tailgater before the game.  Just ask around in the Irwin Lot for the one they call the Monster.  For those of you unable to make it, you’ll probably get to see me on TV.