Football: Gateway adds two teams

By Gus Bode

Two more teams will call the Gateway Football Conference home in 2008.

The conference will expand to nine teams with the addition of North Dakota State and South Dakota State for the 2008 season. This comes in the wake of Western Kentucky leaving the Gateway Conference, announced in Nov. 2006.

“Talking to the people that have been in it a lot longer than I have, I think they felt it was a necessity due to losing Western Kentucky and making sure that we had the amount of teams that they’ve had in the past,” SIU football coach Jerry Kill said.


“I think our league now will be – we talk about it being one of the best in 1-AA – I think it will be the best with bringing those two teams in the conference.” – Jerry Kill, SIU football coach

The North Dakota State Bison and South Dakota State Jackrabbits both paid $250,000 to the teams currently in the Gateway. The money, paid to address budget and extra travel concerns, will be divided up among the teams already in the Gateway, Kill said.

“I think with them doing that it made people feel better because I think the big concern was financially how our budgets were going to be able to handle that travel. That was a definite concern,” Kill said. “They answered that concern and I think (that) made the (athletic directors) feel a little bit better about the travel expenses.”

The Bison were the No. 5 ranked team in the Sports Network Top 25 poll last season, while the Jackrabbits finished the season at No. 22.


“I think anybody in the league, if they say you got a choice to play North Dakota State or another school, they’re going to pick the other school,” Kill said. “Those are like playing Division I programs, and they’re not going to leave the league. They’re going to be there.”

SIU and North Dakota State last faced each other Nov. 9, 2005 at McAndrew Stadium. The Salukis won 9-0 against the then-No. 20 Bison.

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