NDSU, others discuss conference

Updated: March 16, 2005, 7:31 PM ET
Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. -- Representatives from North Dakota State University and eight other NCAA Division I independent schools have met to discuss possible conference affiliation.

NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor said the meeting in Indianapolis on Tuesday was "informational" and no decisions came from it. He said NDSU, in its second year of a five-year Division I transition, is looking at its options and a possible grouping of independents may be one of them.

"We're just talking the what-ifs," Taylor said. "Who's interested? Is there other interest?"

NDSU, South Dakota State, Longwood University (Va.) and Utah Valley State are Division I transition schools looking for a league. Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas-Pan American and Savannah State (Ga.) are independent Division I members.

NDSU and SDSU are members of the Great West Football Conference. Longwood, Utah Valley, Fort Wayne, Corpus Christi and the University of Texas-Pan American do not field football teams. Savannah State (Ga.) is a Division I-AA football independent.

"It's a diverse group," Taylor said.

The group had a member of the NCAA, which is based in Indianapolis, present to talk about regulations for forming a new league.

For starters, a newly formed conference must wait seven additional years before it may be awarded an automatic bid to the NCAA men s and women s basketball tournaments.

Several independents have discussed forming a scheduling alliance to help ease the year-to-year pressure of finding games.

NDSU and SDSU made an unsuccessful bid for the Big Sky Conference last fall. It was the second time in two years the league did not give both schools a favorable response.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press