May 22, 2024

MADISON, S.D.–Dakota State athletics were faced with a tough reality only a few months ago. Their current conference, the North Star Athletic Association, would be disbanding at the end of the 2024-2025 academic year after a number of institutions either left or closed. But in an announcement Tuesday, the Trojans have a new home.

Dakota State along with four other North Star members are joining the Frontier Conference, which currently has six full-time members, all based in Montana.

The North Star Athletic Association took blow after blow the last couple of years, coupled by two institutions closing and more leaving, meaning it was dropping below the minimum number of members. For Dakota State Head Football Coach Josh Anderson, it was low point.

“It’s been very frustrating knowing that the solid conference that we had all of a sudden just dissipated underneath our feet without anything that we could control. With Presentation College, with Iowa Wesleyan College unfortunately going under and shutting down their entire universities,” Anderson said.

“I just want to quote our new athletic director when he said, ‘This is an exciting time for Dakota State athletics, because we become part of one of the best NAIA conferences in the country.’ And I think that’s pretty clear. This is going to be a tremendous move in strengthening competitive arenas, but also many other partnerships that come with athletic partnerships,” Dakota State Assistant to the President Richard Hanson said. “We think we’ve found a home that aligns very well with the values and goals of Dakota State University, so we’re very much excited.”

Because of the large distance between the schools, the conference is working through travel plans that include possible travel partners for sports to save on costs and the time of student-athletes.

“They’re likely to be either a Friday-Saturday, or a Saturday-Sunday. I think that when you’re playing within your own division, there would be likely some Thursday-Saturday or Wednesday-Saturday play,” Frontier Conference Commissioner Scott Crawford said.

Dakota State will finish out the final year of the North Star this upcoming academic year, and start play in the Frontier Conference in the fall of 2025.