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Bresciani likes new Summit League setup

FARGO -- North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani said he's pleased with the direction of the Summit League, adding that when it comes to conferences, bigger isn't always better.

Bresciani said the condensed version of the league is better for NDSU athletes and fans. With Southern Utah and Oral Roberts leaving the Summit this summer, Bresciani said it means minimizing travel and missed class time for athletes.

"Call me old-fashioned, but I'm a big believer in geography being a major part of a quality league," Bresciani said. "I think there is a new vigor, if you will. It's a solid league with a nice, tight footprint."

He said he's getting no indication that Oakland University (Mich.) will leave for the Horizon League.

"They're certainly being courted from what I understand," he said.

Even if Oakland did leave, Bresciani said, the school located in suburban Detroit is the farthest out from a geography standpoint and the Summit could handle the move. Oakland is the eastern-most school, although only 200 miles from Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne.

If OU bolts, it would leave the league with eight members: NDSU, South Dakota State, South Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, Missouri-Kansas City, Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis, Western Illinois and IPFW.

Omaha will join the league this year, but the Mavericks will not be eligible for postseason until 2015-16 in most sports because of the Division I reclassification. The Mavericks will be eligible for a regular-season title beginning this coming season.

It appears UNO may be the last school to join the Summit for the foreseeable future. Bresciani said there is not a school out there that has a "serious interest in joining."

Bresciani said the Missouri Valley Conference is not on NDSU's radar screen. The Bison are members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference for that sport only.

The Missouri Valley's footprint is similar to that of the Summit, but NDSU in that scenario would be considered the geographic outlier of the league.

"It's not an issue for football because we're flying to virtually all the away games anyway," Bresciani said. "But for our other teams, that entire (Summit) footprint is better as far as class time, efficiency and fan base."