Conference search continues

Casey Wonnenberg

Casey Wonnenberg

SDSU is halfway through its first year as a Divison I school, but most of SDSU’s athletic teams are not part of a conference and can not compete in Division I postseason.

Athletic Director Fred Oien, along with others, have continued to remain in contact with administrators and present a positive image of SDSU athletics to other conferences. The conferences, however, must want to expand. Because many conferences do not need to expand, finding a conference may prove a difficult task.

“We don’t get to pick a conference,” Oien said. “We have to be invited into one.”

SDSU was invited to apply to the Big Sky Conference. However, the Big Sky has not responded. Contrary to what some believe, Big Sky did not refuse SDSU.

“Big Sky never said they turned us down,” Oien said.

The only SDSU sport that has entered a Division I Conference is football. The football team competed in the Great West Conference, which also includes North Dakota State University, Northern Colorado, UC Davis, Cal Poly and Southern Utah, this past season.

All SDSU athletic teams will be allowed to compete in postseason Division I play by the 2008-2009 season. Because volleyball and wrestling were granted reclassification, they will be able to compete in the postseason by 2006-2007.

Being accepted into a conference is a lengthy process. Various factors are considered in accepting athletic teams. Some factors they look at include academics, travel issues, the size and scope of institutions, similarities to the conference, how broad and good their sports’ teams are and the capability of financing their sports.

Although SDSU teams can not yet compete in postseason play, belonging to a conference provides multiple benefits.

“Already belonging to a conference helps in recruiting, setting goals and being motivated,” said SDSU Football Coach John Stiegelmeier.