South Dakota Makes D-I Overtures

The University of South Dakota is investigating the possibility of joining the CHA, according to the Fargo (N.D.) Forum, citing sources.

According to the newspaper, USD athletic Kelly Higgins acknowledged having conversations with CHA officials, but said, “they are just friends of mine. … We’re just looking long-term. We’re studying all of our options.”

CHA commissioner Bob Peters has said the league is investigating ways to add to its six-team membership, and wants to grow in blocks of two, to eight, 10 or 12 teams. Peters said the topic of expansion would be discussed heavily during the Coaches Convention, which was held last week in Naples, Fla.

South Dakota is a member of the North Central Conference, which also includes current hockey schools like North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, St. Cloud State, Nebraska-Omaha and MSU-Mankato. Another NCC member, North Dakota State, was making plans in the late ’90s to play Division I hockey, but a public referendum to build a rink was shot down.

South Dakota is a Division II school, and would have to get around the NCAA’s moratorium on schools “playing up” in a single sport.