The Big Sky Conference is going to review whether it should continue to hold its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments at the site of the regular-season champion or use some other model, including the possibility of a predetermined location.
Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton says school administrators and conference staff will assess which format makes the most logistical and financial sense, taking into consideration travel costs, the time students are away from school and fan experience while also giving some advantage to teams that win regular-season titles.
“While our current format often leads to strong attendance and does a great job of protecting our top team, we also realize it has become problematic for many reasons,” Fullerton said in a statement Wednesday.
Talking about changing the format or location of the tournament “is a major philosophical change for the conference, and there are many issues to study before we take a formal proposal back to the presidents,” Fullerton said.
Any potential changes would not take effect until March 2016.
The league also expanded its women’s soccer championship to six teams and split the volleyball teams into two six-team divisions for the regular season. Squads will play each team in their division twice and each team in the other division once, giving them 16 conference matches.
The North Division will include Eastern Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Montana, Montana State and Northern Colorado. The members of the South Division are: Idaho State, Northern Arizona, Portland State, Sacramento State, Southern Utah, and Weber State.
The conference also announced it was sponsoring a men’s golf championship beginning in the spring of 2015. Idaho, North Dakota, Northern Colorado, Southern Utah, Sacramento State and Weber State all have men’s golf teams. All but Idaho had been members of the America Sky men’s golf league. The Big Sky is adding two other former America Sky teams — Hartford and Binghamton — as qualifiers for the conference golf tournament. The agreement requires the tournament to always be held in the West.
The conference meetings were held in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
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