UND moving to Summit League, MVFC

By ANDREW HOLTAN Sports Editor

On Thursday, Jan. 26, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks announced the athletics program would be moving to the Summit League and Missouri Valley Football Conference.

UND will be in the Summit League for most of their athletics starting in the 2018-19 season and will move to the MVFC in 2020.

You might be asking, how does this affect South Dakota State? Well, SDSU is in both the Summit League and MVFC, meaning that SDSU will now be playing UND in almost every single sport.

This move will reunite UND with SDSU, North Dakota State and the University of South Dakota. The four schools were in the former North Central Conference for 83 years.

UND’s move will bring exciting rivalries between these schools, especially in football.

The Fighting Hawks went 9-3 overall and 8-0 in the Big Sky this past season. They also received a first round bye, just like the Jackrabbits.

The MVFC is already a tough conference to play in as the league has had at least one team in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) championship game the past six seasons, including NDSU winning five championships during that time.

SDSU is trailing in most of the series with UND. The Fighting Hawks lead the football series 44-33-5, but the last meeting was in 2003 before SDSU moved to the FCS.

The teams have played in basketball more than football since the move to Division I. UND leads in both series as they are up 104-81 in men’s basketball and 41-21 in women’s basketball. The men’s last meeting was in 2014 and the women played in 2016.

Right now SDSU’s only rivals are NDSU and USD. When the Jacks play those teams in football and basketball attendance is very high. If UND and SDSU develop a rivalry, there would be another football and basketball game with great attendance.

SDSU and NDSU also have talented football and basketball teams. Both have been in the FCS playoffs the last five seasons. They have won the Summit League Men’s Basketball Tournament the last five seasons with SDSU winning three and NDSU winning two.

North Dakota won the Big Sky in football last season and are in second place in men’s basketball this season. When both teams are good, the rivalries are good, so there is plenty of potential for rivalries in these sports.

UND moving to the Summit League and MVFC is also good for traveling. In the Summit League, the only schools that are within driving distance are NDSU, USD and Omaha. North Dakota would be within driving distance, too, as it is only four hours away.

Across the board this was a great move for all parties involved. UND has up and coming football and basketball programs that will be great for the MVFC and Summit League.