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Big Sky Conference facts for kids

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The Big Sky Conference is a NCAA conference that play in the NCAA Division I. The conference is headquartered in Ogden, Utah and features universities and colleges from the Western United States, plus one in the Midwestern U.S. In football, the league plays in the second-level Division I FCS.


As of the 2017–18 school year, the Big Sky has 12 full members, or schools that play almost all of their sports in the conference. Of these schools, only Idaho does not play football in the conference. Its team in that sport plays in the top-level Division I FBS as a single-sport member of the Sun Belt Conference.

After the full Sun Belt members decided not to renew their football membership contract with Idaho when it expired after the 2017 season, Idaho decided to downgrade its football program to the FCS level and return to Big Sky football in 2018.

North Dakota left the non-football side of the Big Sky to join the Summit League, home to many of its traditional rivals, in 2018. The school's football team will join the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020. It played the 2018 season as an FCS independent (not in a conference), and will do so again in 2019. However, North Dakota still plays a full Big Sky football schedule, and games against North Dakota count in the Big Sky standings for other conference members.

School Location Founded Type Nickname Joined
Big Sky
Eastern Washington University Cheney, Washington 1882 Public Eagles 1987
University of Idaho Moscow, Idaho 1889 Public Vandals 1963, 2014
Idaho State University Pocatello, Idaho 1901 Public Bengals 1963
University of Montana Missoula, Montana 1893 Public Grizzlies 1963
Montana State University Bozeman, Montana 1893 Public Bobcats 1963
Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, Arizona 1899 Public Lumberjacks 1970
University of Northern Colorado Greeley, Colorado 1889 Public Bears 2006
Portland State University Portland, Oregon 1946 Public Vikings 1996
California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State) Sacramento, California 1947 Public Hornets 1996
Southern Utah University Cedar City, Utah 1897 Public Thunderbirds 2012
Weber State University Ogden, Utah 1889 Public Wildcats 1963

Associate members

The Big Sky has four "associate" members that play only one sport in the conference.

School Location Founded Type Nickname Joined
Big Sky
Main Conference Big Sky
Binghamton University Vestal, New York 1946 Public Bearcats 2014 America East Men's golf
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) San Luis Obispo, California 1901 Public Mustangs 2012 Big West Football
University of Hartford West Hartford, Connecticut 1877 Private Hawks 2014 America East Men's golf
University of California, Davis (UC Davis) Davis, California 1905 Public Aggies 2012 Big West Football

See also

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