Senators to introduce bill that limits DI funds

Todd Vanderwerff

Todd Vanderwerff

A proposed bill which may come before the South Dakota state legislature in 2004 would require SDSU and the board of regents to use no state money in making the move to Division I.

Both SDSU and the board have promised to not use state funds or raise tuition to make the move, but state senator Frank Kloucek, one of several sponsoring the bill, thinks the two have broken too many promises.

In particular, Kloucek has been worried by SDSU’s promise to find a conference before making the leap to Division I. Ultimately, SDSU decided to move up a division without a conference. According to SDSU officials, many conferences that were interested in SDSU wanted to see a firm commitment to Division I before adopting a new school into their ranks.

Kloucek doesn’t see it that way. He believes the school is so intrigued by the Division I move that it hasn’t given the proposal much thought.

“I think there’s such thing as a leap of faith but they’re not using enough economic model judgments to make this decision. They’re basing it too much on emotion,” Kloucek said.

SDSU athletic director Fred Oien, however, said that SDSU has conducted many studies about the economic feasibility of moving to Division I and that the concerns of people like Kloucek are all addressed in these studies, which are available online or in SDSU’s Briggs Library.

Oien said that SDSU presented the board of regents with figures that outlined a very conservative rate of growth when SDSU asked to go DI in December of last year. He adds that the board agreed with the conclusions of SDSU and its consultants that SDSU was ready to make the leap economically.

“Our confidence (about moving to Division I) comes from the work we’ve done over the last four years as far as studying the issue,” Oien said.

Kloucek is also introducing a

resolution, which will express the reservations several alumni have expressed to him about the move to Division I. Kloucek said he has spoken to 70 to 80 alumni who are upset about the move and only three who support it. Most alumni fear the loss of rivalries. He added that those opposing the move are not as vocal as the move’s supporters.

“The side that’s opposed to it hasn’t really done a campaign to educate the students,” he said.

Oien knows that some are opposed to the move, but he is quick to point out that both alumni groups SDSU has consulted have supported the move.

Oien also said he will work to quell the fears of many by trying to schedule games with Augustana and USD after the move to DI.