The long wait may be over

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

SDSU has taken another step closer to achieving conference affiliation.

From Aug. 9 – 11, Mid-Continent Conference, Mid-Con, officials visited SDSU. The Mid-Con may expand by up to three schools, and officials are considering adding SDSU to the conference. North Dakota State University and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne are the other schools up for possible admission.

Conference officials visited Brookings to see firsthand SDSU’s facilities, research and academics.

“The goal of our site team was to learn as much as possible about South Dakota State University,”

was on the site visit team. “Until you’re on campus … you don’t get a sense of their passion and energy about their athletic program.”

The site visit team submitted reports Aug. 18 and the Mid-Con Presidential Conference should make decisions within the first two weeks of September.

“We are leaving here with a very favorable impression,” Douple said. “You’re not a Division II institution by any stretch of the imagination. You’re a (Division I) institution with a very, very bright future.”

The site visit from Mid-Con officials marks the closest SDSU has come to joining a conference, and the first visit SDSU received from a conference since moving to Division I. A site visit is the last major step to joining a conference before the vote.

SDSU looked at joining the Big Sky Conference immediately after the move to D-I, but the move never materialized.

Overall, SDSU and Mid-Con officials were pleased with the visit.

“The visit has gone very well,” said South Dakota State Athletic Director Fred Oien, SDSU athletic director. “It’s been a great site visit.”

Student-athletes visited with Mid-Con officials as well.

“It’s been great to show off our school,” said senior cross-country runner Becka Mansheim.

Micah Grenz, head of sports promotions at SDSU, said he is confident that SDSU puts out a good product and would be surprised if the university does not receive acceptance into the Mid-Con.

Despite the shining school and good presentations, the commissioner said the biggest weakness for SDSU is its location.

“Travel is an issue we looked at in-depth,” Douple said.

If SDSU does not receive admission to the Mid-Con, the school still has a few years before it becomes critical to be a part of a conference. Conference winners receive automatic bids to NCAA post-season tournaments, which certain SDSU sports are not eligible for until after a few more years.

#1.884419:3899527837.jpg:midcon01.jpg:The Mid-Con site visit team receives a tour of Frost Arena. The team visited the rest of campers and met leaders.: