GRAND FORKS, N.D. – University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy and Athletics Director Brian Faison announced today that the University of North Dakota has accepted an invitation to join the Summit League beginning with the 2018-19 academic year and the Missouri Valley Football Conference beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year.
“This is an important move for UND Athletics and for our fans,” Kennedy said. “We have appreciated our time in the Big Sky Conference and we thank our friends in that conference for their hospitality and the opportunity to have competed against some excellent teams. But we are excited to renew long-treasured rivalries in joining many of our former conference companions in the Summit League and the Missouri Valley Football Conference. We look forward to competitions that are closer to home, which will allow our fans to attend more away games, and we look forward to hosting our long-time rivals and their fans in Grand Forks.”
UND received formal invitations from the Missouri Valley Football Conference on Wednesday and the Summit League on Tuesday, Jan. 24, concluding a process that began when the presidents of those respective conference
universities voted to invite UND to join their memberships.
“The addition of the University of North Dakota to the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020 will complete the league’s FCS footprint in the Midwest,” Viverito said. “This also will re-establish long-standing football rivalries in the Dakotas and open the way for equally satisfying new rivalries throughout the league. Most importantly, UND brings yet another nationally competitive program to the MVFC which is already, arguably, the strongest FCS conference.”
“This is an important day for UND Athletics and the University as we announce new athletic conference affiliations,” said Faison. “Both the Summit League and the Missouri Valley Football Conference are great fits for North Dakota geographically and competitively. Our fans are going to enjoy having past rivalries renewed, now in a league setting.
And, both conferences will have a positive financial impact on the athletics department.” North Dakota is the first institution to join the Missouri Valley Football Conference since South Dakota on July 1, 2012. UND has spent the last five years in the Big Sky Conference for football. During the NCAA Division I reclassification UND competed in the Great West Conference. Prior to that, UND had been a charter member of the now-defunct North Central Conference since 1922. The MVFC has had great success in recent years, earning a total of 14 bids to the NCAA Division I Football Championship in the past three seasons, and a league team has represented the MVFC
in the national championship game in each of the past six seasons (North Dakota State in 2011, 12, 13, 14, 15; Illinois State in 2014; and Youngstown State in 2016).
Founded in 1883, UND has built a well-respected tradition of athletics and academic excellence. UND athletics teams have won 12 NCAA championships, including eight in Division I men’s ice hockey (second-most only to Michigan’s nine), three in Division II women’s basketball and one in Division II football, and 127 individual NCAA championships. UND has also won 150 conference team championships in the Great West Conference, North Central Conference (NCC), Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). The long history of team success has resulted in national recognition for the well over 1,500 UND student-athletes who have garnered All-America honors. Since making the transition to NCAA Division I competition in 2008-09, UND’s student-athletes have earned 25 Academic All-America honors, 10 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, and five prestigious NCAA academic awards.
COURTESY: MISSOURI VALLEY FOOTBALL CONFERENCE