From the “this happened 10 days ago on my day off and I forgot to mention it category:” Dixie State University will become the 12th football member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference effective July 1, 2016.
The Red Storm will be a football-only associate member of the conference, eligible for the RMAC Championship and all individual honors bestowed by the conference in the sport.
To the current 10-member football league, the RMAC will add Dixie State as well as the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, which began full conference membership this academic year. The Hardrockers' prior contract with the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in football lasts through the 2015 season. Dixie State is also currently a football-playing member of the GNAC.
The two new football programs will bring the RMAC to its highest football sponsorship since 1971-72, when the league went from 14 to eight as several schools realigned with other conferences.
"This is a terrific step forward for our football program," Dixie State Athletic Director Jason Boothe said in a news release. "Joining the RMAC gives our team a home in a league with amazingly rich tradition. We are grateful to the GNAC and the opportunities it has provided us over the years and look forward to our future."
The addition of Dixie State and South Dakota Mines into the conference will allow the RMAC to schedule a single-game conference round-robin which fills the maximum 11-game schedule permitted by NCAA Division II. This will serve as a guarantee for all 12 members to receive a full slate of NCAA South Central Region games. It also assures the current schools they will have no bye weeks.
"The addition of a 12th football-playing member within the region helps solidify a full and balanced conference schedule, and adds a quality institution and program to our sponsoring members,” RMAC commissioner Chris Graham said.
Since joining NCAA Division II in 2006, the Red Storm have played 15 football contests against RMAC members, owning a 5-10 record in those games. Dixie State is 4-4 at home in Hansen Stadium versus the league, and they are 1-6 in road contests. They are scheduled to host Colorado Mesa University in their only non-conference matchup of 2015.
Earlier this season, South Dakota School of Mines outlasted Dixie State 41-40 in overtime earlier this season in Saint George, Utah.