Summit League is full of acronyms, stories and talent


Nationally, the Summit League is not the most well known conference out there. However, it has garnered some national attention since SDSU joined the league full time in 2007. Half of the schools don’t have football teams and the ones that do find a home in the Missouri Valley Football Conference (except for Southern Utah).

Hopefully by the end of this, you will have a better idea of the schools, teams and characters that make up the Summit.

IPFW: The first of many abbreviated schools in the league, Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne is a big time volleyball power. Their women’s basketball coach Chris Paul (not that Chris Paul) refers to SDSU as “South” and NDSU as “North”. Why? I don’t know. We’ll see how he handles USD being in the league.

IUPUI: By far the largest enrollment in the league, this school is a combination of Indiana and Purdue Universities. The Jaguars have only had college sports since 1972. But they churned out George Hill, who now plays for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.

UMKC: Missouri-Kansas City isn’t really that good in any sport but they are nicknamed the Kangaroos. President Harry S. Truman attended night classes at their law school in the 1920s.

North Dakota State: The big rivals to the north. The Bison have grown into the #1 rival for SDSU as both have gone through the transition of Division I together. If you go to only one game a season, it better be the NDSU or USD basketball game.

Oakland: You can look at Oakland as the snotty rich kids, as the campus is located near Auburn Hills, Michigan. Their men’s basketball team has been the best in the conference for the last couple of seasons and their swimming teams are amazing. They’ve won the Summit League Championships every season they’ve been in the league, winning 12 in a row.

Oral Roberts: Named for the evangilist, the Tulsa, Okla., school is now the smallest in the conference at a little over 3,000 students with Centenary’s (La.) departure to Division III. Their mascot is a Golden Eagle named Eli, which is an acronym for education, lifeskills and integrity. Yes, it is as dumb as it sounds. They have dominated baseball, winning the title every year since joining the league in 1998

South Dakota: The Jacks’ in-state rival. They have not been on SDSU’s schedule regularly in the major sports since the fall of 2004 when the transition to Division I started. USD decided not to go along with SDSU and NDSU before until a couple years later and got into the same two leagues as SDSU without much of a problem. The first couple of games in football and basketball will be epic just for the crowds.

Southern Utah: Not much to say about the Thunderbirds as this is their final year in the Summit. They go to the Big Sky and Nebraska-Omaha replaces them in 2012.

Western Illinois: Macomb, Illinois. You can’t get here from there. In the middle of nowhere, they are known as the Fighting Leathernecks. They use the nickname “Westerwinds” for their women’s team. Neither mascot makes sense. Again, not really good at anything, except softball.