Dakota State to join Frontier Conference, stay in NAIA ranks

May 21—MADISON, S.D. — Dakota State University Athletics is joining the Montana-based Frontier Conference, effective in the 2025-2026 academic year.

The Trojans have been part of the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) since 2013, but are making the move to the Montana-based conference because the NSAA is disbanding after the 2024-2025 season.

Fellow NSAA member Dickinson State (N.D.) was the first to be approved to join Frontier in December. On May 21, it was announced that other former NSAA schools were joining as well, including Bellevue University (Neb.), Dakota State, Mayville State University (N.D.) and Valley City State University (N.D.).

With Dakota State being added, the Frontier will have 11 full-time members. The confernece will enact an east-west division structure to manage the travel, which will stretch nearly 1,100 miles in driving distance from north to south.

"Today's announcement solidifies the future of the Frontier Conference through added strength in both institutional members and additional sport offerings to grow enrollments. This announcement also sends a message of stability throughout the region regarding the future of the NAIA and the way NAIA members operate. I cannot express sufficient gratitude to all parties involved in making today happen. I hope all those now connected to the Frontier Conference will take great pride in this accomplishment. Let's now turn our gaze to the horizon of a fierce, formidable, and fearless Frontier Conference," said Frontier Confernece Commissioner Scott Crawford in a statement.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Dakota State called the invitation from the Frontier "timely and welcome."

"This is an exciting time for Dakota State Athletics as we become part of one of the best NAIA conferences in the country," said Bud Postma, interim athletic director at Dakota State. "The Frontier Conference promotes academic and athletic excellence, and we look forward to the opportunity to compete in this league," he stated.

"This is a distinctive time for Dakota State University athletics. Not only are we opening brand new facilities that will expand the opportunities for our teams, but moving to the Frontier Conference will provide our student-athletes with the chance to reach new heights in the competition arena as well as in the classroom," said Dakota State President José-Marie Griffiths.

With the Dakota State news, each of the members of the North Star have found new homes. Former North Star member Waldorf University, of Forest City, Iowa, has joined the Great Plains Athletic Conference starting in 2024-25.