Griz In The Big Sky Conference: 50 Years - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Griz In The Big Sky Conference: 50 Years

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The Big Sky Conference has been ever-changing since day one, especially lately.

"The recent expansion of the Big Sky conference, was very significant, especially in football, to me those teams that were added are all going to be competitive in football, as we found out last year," says UM Sports Information Director Dave Guffey.

That expansion includes teams like North Dakota and Southern Utah as full members, as well as Cal Poly, and UC Davis as football only members…and for as much movement recently, there has been plenty over the years…many fans remember playing Boise State and Nevada in football, but fewer may recognize another quality program.

"I don't think people realize Gonzaga was a charter member of the Big Sky Conference, there's one name right there that doesn't need any introduction to what they've become," says UM Athletic Director Kent Haslam.

The University of Montana has stayed consistently at the top of many sports through the years, something that most everyone attributes to the fan support.

"They're the only game in town, there's no professional sports per say in the University of Montana, you've got Montana State, at the FCS level two hundred miles away, and our fan base here is incredible, in football and men's and women's basketball especially, attendance-wise, the Grizzlies have been in the top 2 in attendance, 4 out of the last 5 years," says Guffey.

Conference re-alignment is always changing the landscape of college football, and with former members like Boise State and Nevada having success on a larger stage, many fans wonder if the University of Montana will eventually take the leap to the FBS level in football. While Haslam wasn't the athletic director when realignment decisions were made in the past, he says he doesn't expect a move anytime soon.

"Does it mean it will never happen? Never is a strong word, I think you have to constantly have your eyes open and have to be preparing for what lies ahead, but we have a good rivalry with Montana State, we are in a good spot right now, we're in one of three conferences that's playing football that's west of the Mississippi, so there's only three of us out here, and so I think we're in a good solid spot," says Haslam.

 

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