Ahhhhh, I love nights like tonight. Finish a beast project and it’s like finals week is over. (Oh, to be young again). But after a nice little late night workout and a few pretzels, here are some random thoughts about the UND moving to D1 issue, that’s dominated my life for the last 2 weeks. And with my apologies to Peter King, here’s what I know and what I think I know after interviews with current administrators and former players.
What I know–
1. Charles Kupchella thinks all this fuss about sports is just silly. He wants this thing to go away badly.
2. Body language and nonverbals give you an unmistakeable impression that he doesn’t want to do it. Much of what he says leads you to that conclusion, too.
3. Tom Buning wants to go. Gets a gleam in his eye when you bring it up.
4. Charles Kupchella is a very proud man.
5. The heat is coming from football people, but now some mens basketball people are starting to warm up to the idea.
6. Dr. Kupchella will not say anything complimentary about NDSU.
7. Dr. K will ask for conference membership assurances before he says yes.
8. It’s impossible to predict what the decision will be because Dr. K says that emotion might cause him to make an otherwise illogical decision. How do you handicap that?
What I think I know —
1. Buning would do it without a conference in place. I believe if he thought something could happen soon that he’d give it a shot. He said otherwise, but seemed to be trying to find a way to avoid a definitive answer on that question.
2. Womens basketball and the other sports (besides MBB and FB) tend to say let’s stay by a wide margin.
3. Finances will cause the president to say no to moving up. I’ve heard so many rumors about UND struggling to meet budget that it seems like there must be some fire amid the smoke. And if the current finances are strained, I can’t see Kupchella doing anything until that’s fixed.
4. I havent’ followed Kupchella’s history very closely, but if he is indeed planning to leave shortly, he may very well leave this decision to the new guy/gal.
5. Dr. K will give a definitive answer on this issue in the near future. He told me that his coaches need to hear either that we’re going or we’re not for X amount of time, so at least there is certainty.
6. He’s a very smart man, but overconfident about what he can accomplish with the NCAA, and his ideas about changing rules to move one or 2 sports at a time.
Bottom line–Everything about moving up goes against his better judgement and his personality. Most of his fan feedback is against a move, and so is most of the athlete and coach population from what I hear. Grand Forks does not have the "wannabe" mentality of Fargo (I don’t mean that in a negative way–Fargo just wants to be a big town). He’s desperately looking for a compromise, but none seems available. Believe me, he’s got the you-know-whats to stare the rabid go-crowd in the eye and say no. The prediction here is that he issues a forward-looking statement ("we appear to be on the right track toward division 1 membership in the next few years, but we need to do some work first" – kind of thing) and states that UND will remain D2 for 2-3 years while some work is done. He looks Dale in the eye and says I’m sorry but I can’t give you the assurance you want for the future, I hope you’ll stay. He knows he may seem wishy-washy but at the end of the day I just can’t see him making a decision that goes against his better judgement.
Then again, I thought Miles was going to Wilmington, so place your bets accordingly.