Ideas For a Conference Realignment If DIAA Teams Moved Up

David HedlindAnalyst IIApril 3, 2009

In part one, I looked at what each state had to offer in terms of Division One AA teams. To continue that, I thought what if they all moved up to DIA status? That means moving 37 schools up. That is just entirely too many independents.

I get to do one of my favorite things, rearranging conferences. I also get to create new ones. If you have read some of my articles before, you know I love doing this.

I am leaving the ACC, Big XII, Big Ten and SEC alone. They are the only ones that get to stay as they are. Most conferences will go to a 12 team, two division format, but not all.

Villanova moves up and is a member of the Big East for everything else, so that’s where it goes. This brings the conference up to nine teams. That is the only team I would add from the DIAA teams. I would raid Conference USA again to bring it up to 12. East Carolina, Central Florida and Marshall make the most sense geographically. East Carolina and UCF are the last two teams to win Conference USA as well.

Big East


Connecticut, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia


Central Florida, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Marshall, Louisville, South Florida

With Conference USA losing their only team in Florida and North Carolina they would want to replenish those states for recruiting. Bethune-Cookman and Appalachian State are options. They still need one more and I don’t know if they would reach north again to replace Marshall, besides the fact there is no school in West Virginia. I am placing Wofford from South Carolina as the last team.

However, with this happening I think some of the west teams might see the conference in a decline and jump ship. I am moving Tulsa and UTEP to the Mountain West—Northern Colorado and Weber State take their place.

Conference USA


Appalachian State, Bethune-Cookman, Memphis, Southern Miss, UAB, Wofford


Houston, Northern Colorado, Rice, SMU, Tulane, Weber State

Out west I have the new Pac-10 commissioner doing what people have been talking about forever and adding Utah and BYU to the Pac-10.

Pac 12


BYU, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, Washington, Washington State


Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC

After adding Tulsa and UTEP to the Mountain West I would also take New Mexico State from the WAC. They are a mid level team with the natural rival in New Mexico. With openings for two more teams, I would add Eastern Washington and Montana.

Mountain West


Air Force, Colorado State, Eastern Washington, Montana, UNLV, Wyoming


New Mexico, New Mexico State, San Diego State, TCU, Tulsa, UTEP

With the WAC losing New Mexico State they now have space for four teams. Here I would add San Diego, Idaho State, Northern Arizona and Portland State. Northern Arizona and San Diego are already associate members for swimming and diving.



Boise State, Idaho, Idaho State, Louisiana Tech, Northern Arizona, Utah State


Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, Portland State, San Diego, San Jose State

Missouri State and Southern Illinois have a preexisting relationship with the Sun Belt conference. They are associate members for swimming and diving. It only makes sense to add them here. This gives the Sun Belt 11 teams so I will add Tennessee Martin as well for an even 12, and a two division conference.

Sun Belt


FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee-Martin, Troy, Western Kentucky


Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Missouri State, North Texas, Southern Illinois

The MAC disbands and creates two conferences. Each division stays together but adds some teams from the DIAA ranks. Neither is going to be a 12 team conference. Both play a round robin and play nine conference games.

The MAC west stays the MAC and adds North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Northern Iowa, and Butler


Ball State, Butler, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, North Dakota St., Northern Illinois, Norhtern Iowa, South Dakota St., Toledo, Western Michigan

The MAC East becomes the Great Lakes Conference and adds another Ohio school in Dayton—Albany and Eastern Kentucky are also added.

Great Lakes Conference

Akron, Albany, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Dayton, Eastern Kentucky, Kent State, Miami, Ohio, Temple

At this point I have to make up some conferences. It is pretty easy to do geographically I just don’t know how strong or balanced they may be.

For the northern schools I would also add Army. They haven’t been as competitive in recent years so in a conference among current DIAA schools they may do better.

Northeastern Conference

Army, Brown, Delaware, Maine, Monmouth, New Hampshire, UMASS, Yale

The rest fit together pretty well. Most are southern but I also threw in Morgan State and James Madison from Maryland and Virginia.

South East Athletic Conference

Alabama A&M, Central Arkansas, Georgia Southern, Grambling State, Jackson State, James Madison, Morgan State, Prairie View A&M

There you have my new conference realignment, including the DIAA teams I moved up in part I.