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Alumni & Friends

VCSU to join Frontier Conference in 2025-26

May 22, 2024

A picture of the frontier conference logo with mountains and a horse and the viking head logo.
Valley City State University and the Frontier Conference announced today that VCSU will join the athletic conference starting in the fall of 2025.

Valley City State University’s athletic teams will compete for one more season in the North Star Athletic Association before joining the Frontier Conference for the 2025-26 season. The Frontier Conference – currently made up primarily of NAIA schools in Montana – is regarded among the top leagues in the NAIA and gives VCSU immediate stability for its athletics programs after a tumultuous few years in the NSAA.

The Vikings are making the move with four other NSAA schools. The Frontier Conference also announced the additions of Dakota State University, Mayville State University and Bellevue University on Tuesday. Dickinson State had previously announced it was joining the Frontier Conference starting in 2025-26.

“We’re excited for this new adventure with a well-respected and highly competitive conference in the NAIA,” said VCSU athletic director Dennis McCulloch. “With our five NSAA schools making the move together, the conference can get creative with scheduling to help lessen the anticipated increase in travel time and costs.”

“The daily competition we’ll face in the Frontier is a challenge that our programs will be forced to rise to,” said McCulloch. “With support from our campus and a passionate fan base, we’re confident we can elevate our programs to become more competitive nationally as a member of the Frontier.”

Within the last two years, the North Star Athletic Association has slowly de-stabilized with two schools closing – Presentation College and Iowa Wesleyan – and two schools leaving for other conferences: Waldorf University and Viterbo University. That forced the remaining NSAA schools to look for homes elsewhere with the conference dropping to just five members.

“We are excited to join the Frontier Conference and I am looking forward to seeing many of our long-standing competitors as well as some new faces,” VCSU President Alan LaFave said. “Keeping the five NSAA schools together helps to preserve traditional rivalries for our students, alumni and fans. As with all large decisions at VCSU, we evaluate how options will affect student experiences. I’m certain this move will enhance and elevate the experiences of our athletes and supporters.”

The Frontier currently sponsors 12 sports, including football, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and men’s and women’s golf. With the addition of the five NSAA schools – who all play baseball and softball – the Frontier will also likely begin sponsoring baseball and softball as an official conference sport in the coming years.

The Frontier currently has six full membership schools and four associate member schools in football only. Starting in 2025-26, the conference now projects to have 11 full member schools and a total of 13 football-playing schools.

Since 1934, the purpose of the Frontier Conference has been to encourage, promote, sponsor and control athletic competition among participating colleges as an integral part of the total educational process. Based in Helena, Montana, the Frontier Conference is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and its members compete for championships in 12 varsity sports and growing. The Frontier uses the motto, “Promoting Academic and Athletic Excellence.”

Frontier Full Membership Schools
Carroll College (Helena, Mont.)
Montana Tech (Butte, Mont.)
University of Montana Western (Dillon, Mont.)
MSU-Northern (Havre, Mont.)
University of Providence (Great Falls, Mont.)
Rocky Mountain College (Billings, Mont.)

Associate Membership – Football Only
Arizona Christian (Glendale, Ariz.)
College of Idaho (Caldwell, Idaho)
Eastern Oregon (La Grande, Ore.)
Southern Oregon (Ashland, Ore.)