, Muskogee, OK


June 23, 2010

NSU inquires about conference change

Conference realignment isn’t just a topic among Division I schools.

The Lone Star Conference om Division II appears to be on the way to a breakup as well and that could include Northeastern State, which on Wednesday sent a letter of inquiry to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), along with Central Oklahoma.

“Northeastern State University has submitted a letter of interest to the commissioner of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association  in an effort to learn more about this NCAA Division II conference and its member institutions,” NSU athletics director Jeff Konya said in a written statement issued on Wednesday.

“The dialogue that will occur over the next few weeks will allow NSU and the MIAA an opportunity to determine what is in the best interest of all concerned parties moving forward. We recognize there have been recent shifts in conference alignments in the NCAA over the past few weeks. It is important that NSU continues to seek opportunities which are in its best interest as an institution both academically and athletically.”

Meanwhile, at least two other Oklahoma schools are exploring forming a new league with six Arkansas schools currently playing in the Gulf South Conference — home to some of Division II's top football programs. Travel costs have become an obstacle in the 14-school GSC, which stretches from Georgia to western Arkansas.

Those schools reportedly include Southeastern, Southwestern and East Central. John Hargrave, ECU’s president, told the Associated Press on Tuesday, “We have been very happy in the Lone Star Conference ... We think the geography in Arkansas is obviously very attractive with us. ... Colleges, especially Division II schools, have to look at costs, institution-wide."

The MIAA is made up of Nebraska-Omaha, six Missouri schools (Central Missouri, Missouri Southern, Missouri Western, Northwest Missouri State, Southwest Baptist, Truman State) and four Kansas schools (Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Pittsburg State and Washburn).

Konya and associate athletic director Scott Pettus were in Anaheim, Calif., this week attending a national conference of college athletic directors.

Pettus, reached by phone on Wednesday, said the school would have no further comment until developments warrant it. Pettus did deny earlier reports which appeared in state newspaper which said a deal with the MIAA was done.

“That’s obviously premature at this point,” Pettus said.

NSU joined the LSC in 1996 with East Central, Southwestern and Southeastern. Cameron joined in 1988, left and returned in 1996.  

The conference includes Texas A&M-Commerce, Midwestern State, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Angelo State, Abilene Christian, Tarleton State,  West Texas A&M, Eastern New Mexico and beginning this fall, Incarnate Word out of San Antonio. Texas Woman’s University plays five sports in the LSC.

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