Athletic Board ponders switch

By Carl Ackerman

Although several of NIU’s women’s athletic programs are presently in the North Star Conference, that may change.

NIU’s Athletic Board supported the position of the university and Intercollegiate Athletic Administration at its Wednesday meeting to integrate the women’s and men’s athletic programs into the Mid-Continent Conference, providing two things take place.

A sufficient number of quality women’s athletic programs must agree to integration. Also, proper assurances must be obtained so that the proposed Council of Delegates will administer the M-C to enhance the women’s programs.

The official deadline for NIU to decide on moving its women’s programs to the M-C is Friday. NIU is hesitating because it’s waiting for the decision of three other universities: Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois and Northern Iowa.

“I have a strong feeling two out of the three are going to move their programs to the conference,” NIU Athletic Director Gerald O’Dell said. O’Dell would not comment on which program he was unsure of.

“I’m anxious to see what the others will do, because I’m concerned about the strength of the conference,” O’Dell said.

Partly because of DePaul’s recent decision to leave the NSC, O’Dell said that he believes the NSC will eventually dissolve.

“If the other teams in the (NSC) integrate and we don’t, we really don’t have any place to go,” Associate Athletic Director Cary Groth said.