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Schools to discuss changing Gateway Football Conference's name
Like the river that bears its first name, the issue that will confront the Missouri Valley Conference on Friday has its share of depth and twists. At stake is changing the name of the Gateway Football Conference to the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
It will be the top issue when league presidents from the Missouri Valley and the Gateway – the football-only league comprised of schools from the Missouri Valley, Summit League and Ohio Valley Conference – meet in St. Louis.
The Gateway presidents will gather first and presidents of the Gateway and Missouri Valley are scheduled for a joint meeting later in the day. North Dakota State belongs to the Summit for most of its sports and was admitted into the Gateway Football Conference beginning this fall.
Because of its first-year status, NDSU President Joe Chapman is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“He’ll listen to the pros and cons from the members of the conference that have been in it longer than NDSU,” said NDSU spokeswoman Najla Amundson. “Based on that, he’ll make a thoughtful decision.”
For the most part, the proposal is a match between two viewpoints.
Some if not all of the five football-playing schools from the Missouri Valley – Missouri State, Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Indiana State and Illinois State – appear in favor of it.
“Even though we love being in the Gateway, there’s an awful lot of name recognition to the Missouri Valley Conference,” said Southern Illinois athletic director Mario Moccia. “What basketball and other sports have done, we think it might be able to bring more notoriety toward football.”
But the jury is out on the three Gateway members from the Summit – NDSU, South Dakota State and Western Illinois – along with Youngstown State of the Ohio Valley and from the non football-playing Missouri Valley schools.
“Some schools had some concerns and they brought those up,” Moccia said.
If the proposal does pass, it will go into effect immediately. There also won’t be any administrative changes; the Gateway is run out of the Missouri Valley league office.
“It’s not like we’re taking on a new thing,” said Missouri State athletic director Bill Rowe. “We’re not pulling anything behind the scenes; we just want the name changed. We’ve put a lot of thought into it over the years and we feel it’s the ideal time to do it.”
Ideal in that the league is in a state of change with NDSU and SDSU joining.
“We feel it is the strongest Football Championship Subdivision conference in the country,” Rowe said. “We feel we’ll get even more recognition.”
Schools to discuss changing Gateway’s name
By Jeff Kolpack, In Forum