June 7, 2013 in Sports

UI’s arrival to create changes

18-game basketball schedule in fall ’14
Staff And Wire Reports

Big Sky Conference men’s and women’s basketball teams will play an 18-game conference schedule starting in 2014-15, Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton announced Thursday.

Conference presidents approved the schedules, as well as several other proposals, during their annual spring meetings in Missoula. Basketball teams played a double-round robin, 20-game schedule in 2012-13, and will again in 2013-14. The University of Idaho returns to the Big Sky for the majority of its sports on July 1, 2014, meaning the league will have 12 basketball and volleyball teams.

League administrators voted not to use a two-division format for basketball, but will implement a two-division format for volleyball. Volleyball will play a 16-match conference schedule, playing a double-round robin within the division, and crossing over to play teams in the other division once.

“We’re ironing out the details of what schools will be in what division, as well as the division names for volleyball,’’ Fullerton said. “A 16-game, two-division format made sense for volleyball. It contains the conference schedule to eight weeks, which allows us to move our championship out of Thanksgiving weekend. It’s also easier for our volleyball teams to schedule nonconference games.

“However, our administrators felt like 18 games with no divisions will be a better format for basketball, where it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to schedule home Division I nonconference games. Playing in one division for basketball allows for a more equitable schedule than an 18-game schedule with two divisions. Our schedule will likely be modeled after the Pac-12’s current model.’’

A proposal for a six-team soccer championship was approved starting in the fall of 2014. The addition of Idaho will give the league 11 soccer-playing members. The format will consist of the quarterfinals on Thursday, followed by the semifinals on Friday and the championship on Sunday. This upcoming fall will be the final year of a four-team soccer tournament.

The league also announced plans to reinstate a men’s golf championship in the spring of 2015. At that time, the Big Sky will have six members with men’s golf teams, the minimum needed to host a championship. League members North Dakota, Northern Colorado, Sacramento State, Southern Utah, and Weber State currently compete in the America Sky. Idaho’s men’s golf program currently competes in the WAC.

The league also adopted a noisemaker policy for football. Spectators at all football games will not be allowed to have musical instruments or amplified artificial noisemakers, including but not limited to vuvuzelas and duck whistles.

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