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WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 22, 2011, 02:23 PM

Area colleges adjust to life without a conference home

Valley City, ND (WDAY Sports) - As the college season ends, there's plenty of uncertainty surrounding the three NAIA schools in our area. Dom Izzo takes a closer look at the dissolution of the Dakota Athletic Conference.

By: Dom Izzo, WDAY

It's been the rage of college athletics in recent years, schools leaving conferences and long standing rivalries behind. It's not restricted to the Division 1 world, here in Valley City, along with Jamestown and Mayville; they're adjusting to life without a conference home.

This is what the DAC looked like last year: 8 teams in North and South Dakota. This is what the DAC will look like this fall: 4 schools, with Dickinson State leaving in 2012, putting the remaining 3 schools in a tough spot.

JILL DeVRIES - Valley City State Assistant A.D. – Women’s BB Coach: “I think recruiting people, use it against us, people say we don't have a league to play in or conference champion, but that can be used as a positive.”

JUSTIN JOHNSON - Mayville State Men’s Basketball Coach: “The perception was how are you going to combat this with recruiting and at end of the day? Can we play for national tournament and National Championship?”

It's all about positive thinking these days on the three campuses in Mayville, Jamestown and Valley City, all concerned if this will affect enrollment.

LAWRIE PAULSON - Jamestown Athletic Director: “Hopefully not, it's a great school, great tradition; we can provide a good environment for student-athletes.”

The biggest concern at each school is football. With the other schools leaving, each will play the other twice and finding different opponents is challenging.

BUD ETZOLD - Jamestown Football Coach: “It's something we've done in the past, not something dramatic, but no one will say this is great.”

MIKE MOORE - Mayville State Athletic Director: “It's going to force us to look east, but that's okay, it's still closer than the frontier.”

The Frontier is the conference based largely in Montana. All three schools were interested in, but travel costs have cooled those plans.

BUD ETZOLD - Jamestown Football Coach: “What's best for football maybe isn't best for 16 other sports, like to think football is important.”

For the time being Mayville, Valley City and Jamestown will compete as an independent, still playing each other, unsure of what the future holds.

MIKE MOORE - Mayville State Athletic Director: “If we have to stay independent for 4-5 years, I wouldn't have a problem with that.”

LAWRIE PAULSON - Jamestown Athletic Director: “I don't know if the college knows what's in best interest. Don't know what will be in front of us in 5 years.”

JILL DeVRIES - Valley City State Assistant A.D. – Women’s BB Coach: “Not opposed to be independent, football will be tough, if I had crystal ball, VCSU in right where it needs to be.”

The three schools are scheduled to meet Wednesday to re-affirm their plans on going independent.

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