Just weeks before the end of the fall semester, a big shake-up in athletics occurred in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). As bubble setup was in full swing, major talk among the athletic department was about the breaking news of St. Cloud State University and University of Minnesota Crookston cutting their football programs. For many, the news was unexpected. However, earlier in the week a rule change was made by the NSIC to no longer require a school to have football in order to be part of the conference. With this rule in place, both schools made their decision to part ways with their respective teams.
As a part of the NSIC North, Minot State played St. Cloud and Crookston in football every year. Now, two spots on the 11-game schedule will need to be filled. The easy fix would be to schedule non-conference opponents like every other sport does. However, the NSIC has a rule against having non-conference regular football season games.
NSIC should change the rule that prevents non-conference regular season games. There are benefits to allowing non-conference play. First, it can very beneficial for recruiting.
By defeating non-conference opponents, NSIC teams would prove that the NSIC is the toughest conference in D-II football. It can also allow teams to play FCS D-I teams. For example, a school like North Dakota State University might play Minot State for an early season warm-up game. Preventing non-conference games handcuffs NSIC scheduling and should be changed.