Nov. 1, 2010

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - The University of North Dakota and Southern Utah are joining the Big Sky Conference, effective in July 2012.

The league also says it's "on the verge" of announcing the addition of the University of South Dakota.

That will give the league 12 core members, with 14 football members. Cal Poly and UC Davis are joining as football-only schools.

Commissioner Doug Fullerton says school presidents want to position the Big Sky as a major player in the west in the Football Championship Subdivision.

UND, Southern Utah and USD currently compete in the Great West Conference for football.

Other Big Sky members are Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State and Weber State.