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NSIC to Conduct Site Visits for Possible Expansion

Sioux Falls – At today’s summer meeting in Indianapolis, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) board reviewed membership applications from the University of Sioux Falls, Minot State University, Black Hills State University, and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

The NSIC board, consisting of the presidents of the 14 member institutions, approved moving forward with the next step in the expansion process. Site visits by a delegation of representatives of current member institutions will be conducted in the fall of 2010 at the University of Sioux Falls and Minot State University.

“I am pleased with the outcome of today’s meeting as it represents another step forward for the NSIC in our goal to become one of the pre-eminent NCAA Division II conferences in the United States,” said Augustana College President Rob Oliver. “We will now explore the details of potential membership for two institutions, whose leadership has worked diligently to prepare for membership in the NCAA and NSIC.”

In September 2009, the NSIC expressed a desire to expand from 14 to 16 teams with the 2012-2013 season set as a target date. The NSIC became eligible for NCAA championship competition in 1995. The league’s last expansion in 2007 included Augustana, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota State University, Mankato and the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Augustana Athletic Director Bill Gross said he is pleased with the presidents’ decision. “It shows the overall quality and respect the NSIC has when you have new institutions interested in joining the league. We look forward to the site visits to get a more comprehensive overall picture of both the University of Sioux Falls and Minot State University. For college sports fans in Sioux Falls, the potential for Augie and USF competing in the same conference is certainly exciting news."

President Oliver said today’s vote, while not representing final approval, should be viewed as a positive indication that the NSIC realizes the benefits of expanding its membership to 16 and that USF and Minot State have emerged as qualified candidates.

“These two institutions most definitely represent the strongest cases for potential membership,” Oliver said. “Certainly for Sioux Falls and Augustana, it represents an opportunity for additional quality athletic competition in a community that enjoys sports immensely.”