The new school year brings in new athletic alliances for both Dakota State University and Madison High School.
Conference affiliations in athletics used to be something that rarely changed, but that idea is as quaint as a leather football helmet.
Not a single major college athletic conference is the same as it was 10 years ago, and the realignment has been dizzying. Forget geography: The Big East conference includes teams from Wisconsin and Nebraska.
For Dakota State, its longtime affiliation was the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference (SDIC), until it merged with a North Dakota conference to form the Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC) in 1996.
Over the coming years, the DAC shrank in size as member schools closed or changed competition levels. The conference disbanded when Dakota State chose to go independent in 2011.
A number of DAC schools, including Dakota State, got back together this year with new member Presentation College of Aberdeen to form the new North Star Athletic Association. Play begins this fall.
Madison High School's longtime affiliation was with the Eastern South Dakota (ESD) conference, until joining the Big Eight Conference in 1987. Now four of the five current members of the Big Eight are joining with eight members of the Big Sioux Conference to form the new Dakota XII conference.
We're enthused about seeing these new conferences coming into being and look forward to developing some great conference rivalries in upcoming years.