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UND-NDSU football officially back on

By Brad E. Schlossman

Forum News Service

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- It's official. The University of North Dakota-North Dakota State University football rivalry is back.

The schools will play in games in Fargo on Sept. 19, 2015, and Sept. 7, 2019, ending a 12-year hiatus that began after the 2003 contest when NDSU moved to NCAA Division I status.

“I want our football players to have the full experience of being a UND football player and, to me, that includes playing North Dakota State," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "True rivalry games are a big part of college football. You see Iowa State playing Iowa, Michigan State playing Michigan, Auburn playing Alabama and so on. There is no reason North Dakota and North Dakota State should not be playing.

“As I traveled around the region talking to some of our football alums, one of their fondest memories is playing against our rival North Dakota State. Too many young men have missed out on that opportunity over the last 11 years.”

UND will receive a guarantee of $125,000 for the first game and $140,000 for the 2019 game. Both will be played in the Fargodome. UND will be allotted 500 tickets and have the option of bringing its band and cheerleaders.

The teams, who began playing in 1894, have not met since 2003 when NDSU moved to NCAA Division I and UND stayed in NCAA Division II.

UND, citing the Division II playoff selection format which hurt teams for playing Division I opponents, declined to continue the series in 2004.

UND announced it was making the move to Division I in June 2006, but the programs continually deadlocked on the terms of renewing the rivalry.

Two weeks ago, UND athletic director Brian Faison told the Grand Forks Herald that he was willing to sign a deal with NDSU that did not guarantee a game in Grand Forks.

"There's a strong sentiment from a certain part of our fan base that, whatever we have to do, let's do it," Faison said. "If that means one game or two games... at least it gets it to being started again."

Faison, negotiating with NDSU interim athletic director Prakash Mathew, finished negotiations this week. NDSU says the framework for the deal was drawn up by former athletic director Gene Taylor, who left for a position in the Iowa athletic department on Aug. 1.