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North Dakota suddenly a hot commodity

Expansion fever has reached the point to where North Dakota is being courted by not one, but two conferences for future membership.

Athletic director Brian Faison acknowledged to the Grand Forks Herald that both the Summit League and the Big Sky Conference are in discussions with the school.

"It's nice to have options," Faison said, "but the reality is until you get that call that says 'we would like to extend a formal invitation to join...'

"Whether those options play out or not we will see. Frankly, though, two years ago we didn't (have options) and that was a real concern."

That's good news for a program currently in the Great West Conference, which does not have an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and has been more known for its soon-to-be retired Fighting Sioux nickname.

The Summit League, which currently includes North Dakota State and South Dakota State, has added South Dakota from the Great West for next season, with the basketball teams being eligible for regular season and conference tournament titles beginning in 2012-13.

The Big Sky could add to its membership as well, especially if Montana were to receive an invitation from the WAC in the coming weeks and accept it.