Mayville State University is among a group of five colleges and universities that have announced their intention to form a new athletic conference in the Upper Midwest. This new National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) conference is set to commence with the start of the 2013-14 academic year, and it will be known as the North Star Athletic Association. The five schools that have actively been working on the new conference and are charter members include:
- Dakota State University (Madison, South Dakota)
- Jamestown College (Jamestown, North Dakota)
- Mayville State University (Mayville, North Dakota)
- Presentation College (Aberdeen, South Dakota)
- Valley City State University (Valley City, North Dakota)
Presentation College was previously an NCAA Division III independent, but was admitted into NAIA membership at the NAIA’s national convention on April 22, 2013. The other four institutions are long-time NAIA members and competed in the NAIA’s Association of Independent Institutions (AII) Conference the past two years.
The NAIA officially recognized the establishment of the new conference during a meeting of the Council of Presidents (COP) on April 22, 2013. The COP, the NAIA’s chief governing body, voted to formally recognize the North Star Athletic Association as an NAIA-affiliated conference beginning in 2013-14. The five schools are also announcing today that a sixth member has been invited to join their conference. Dickinson State University, currently a member of the NAIA’s Frontier Conference, has been asked to join the North Star Athletic Association beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.
Dr. Steven Shirley, president of Valley City State University, has led conference formation efforts and serves on the NAIA’s Council of Presidents, commented, “Significant efforts have been underway during the past year by our five schools in working to form a new athletic conference in the Upper Midwest. The North Star will be a tremendous source of pride for our institutions as well as our student-athletes, supporters, coaches, communities, and alumni.” He continued, “We are excited to invite a school with such deep athletic traditions as Dickinson State University into this new conference, and will continue exploring options to welcome additional regional members as well. All of our colleges and universities are quite excited and enthusiastic about working together in the years ahead.”
The North Star Athletic Association plans to hire a commissioner later this spring and be in full-time operation by July 2013.