Senate committee rejects alum’s resolution opposing SDSU Division I athletics move


Susan Smith, Cns

PIERRE (CNS) – A Senate committee rejected a resolution Feb. 26 that would express the Legislature’s disapproval of South Dakota State University’s move to Division I athletics.

The Senate concurrent resolution proposed by State Sen. Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland, would not halt SDSU’s plans to move to Division I. It was Kloucek’s effort to provide an expression of concerns opponents of the switch have about the change.

Kloucek presented brief testimony before the Senate State Affairs Committee, as did one opponent, Tad Perry, executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Perry told legislators that the board has already laid out the guidelines for moving to DI, and the decision is now left to the university.

Kloucek, an alumnus of SDSU, said many students and alumni do not favor the move and would prefer SDSU stay in Division II.

The resolution stated several reasons for SDSU to stay Division II. Those reasons included:

Traditional rivalries have been established with the University of South Dakota and Augustana College. Those schools are not making the switch to DI.

Transportation costs could increase when teams travel farther to play other D-I schools.

A four-year classification period would exclude SDSU from post-season play, possibly reducing the fan base and game attendance.

There are no suitable conferences for SDSU to join.

The increased costs of D1 status could become a burden to the school and state if no alumni or private donors can supply the necessary funding.

Fewer South Dakota students would have the opportunity to participate in SDSU athletics if the school moves to Division 1.

The resolution urged SDSU to place students and academic standards at a higher priority than athletic activities.

A concurrent resolution expresses an opinion of the Legislature. It carries no force of law.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 6-0 to defer the resolution to the 41st day.

There are 40 days in the current legislative session, so that motion effectively kills the legislation.