It appears that the Big Sky Conference is adding two and possibly three teams to the conference. Two of the additions will be Cal Poly and Cal Davis of the Big West. These schools will compete in football only and remain a member of the Big West for all other sports. The Big West does not sponsor football, and Cal Poly and Cal Davis was the only member of the conference who field football teams – both at the D-1AA level. The third school is yet to be named.
This will be a sweat deal for Cal Poly and Cal Davis because prior to this they had to compete as NCAA D-1AA independence. Being affiliated with the Big Sky conference will solve an ongoing problem they always have and that is filling out their schedule for football games. They should have 5-7 guaranteed games every year depending on how the conference arranges all it’s teams. The two teams also now get access to the Big Sky automatic big into the championship play offs, where before they had to make into the play offs as an at large bid. And they get to have all of this with out giving up their Big West affiliation in basketball. Best of both worlds if you ask me.
What does the Big Sky get? They get two more teams to add to their roaster and when all is said and done will most likely end up with a 12 team conference in football and 10 in the majority of other sports. Is bigger better? The Conference seems to think so. The conference will most likely have to divide into two division of some form. The conference also seems to think by adding these two teams that it will raise the level of play. It is true Cal Poly typically fields teams that are upper end Big Sky Caliber teams, but Cal Davis not so much
My main fear right now is that the Big Sky is adding temporary member. Members who will stay with the conference while it they search for ways to move up to the Mountain West or WAC. It already seems the Big Sky Conference has a couple members like Portland State and Sacramento State who are always trying to find a way to leave the Conference, so may be Cal Poly and Cal Davis will fit right in. Unfortunately Doug Fullerton seems to like chasing these types of schools and rejecting long term solutions to the conference like North Dakota State and South Dakota State.
Over all I see this as a great thing for Cal Poly and Cal Davis they will benefit tremendously from this deal. There are some benefits for the Big Sky but to what degree is still highly debatable
The big question to me is how this affiliation will affect the other sports like basketball and volleyball, and I still have not got my head around that.