Monday, January 17, 2011

Looks like expansion for Northern Sun

The University of Sioux Falls has called a press conference for Thursday afternoon to discuss a decision by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference presidents regarding expansion.

The conference presidents are scheduled to take a vote on expansion Thursday morning.

The Northern Sun has been considering expansion to 16 teams, with Sioux Falls and Minot State being the additional programs. The league expanded to 14 when Minnesota State, St. Cloud State, Augustana and Minnesota Duluth joined the league in 2008.

It's hard to believe that there would be a press conference, attended by Sioux Falls coaches and administrative officials, if the Northern Sun declined to expand.

The league will likely need to form divisions in basketball, as there already is for football. It would be logical that Sioux Falls will join the South Division with Minot State in the North, but there also could be a total realignment.

Sixteen teams is too many, and it's tough to see what Sioux Falls and Minot State bring to the league. This could set the stage for the stronger programs to form their own eight-team conference sometime in the future.

Or maybe the Northern Sun will surprise everyone and decline expansion.

We'll find out Thursday.

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