North Central Conference

The North Central Conference (NCC), also known as North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, was a college athletic conference which operated in the north central United States. It participated in the NCAA's Division II.

North Central Conference
Dissolved2008 (succeeded by the Summit League and the Missouri Valley Football Conference de facto)
DivisionDivision II
Sports fielded
  • 18
    • men's: 9
    • women's: 9
HeadquartersSioux Falls, South Dakota


The NCC was formed in 1922. Charter members of the NCC were South Dakota State College (now South Dakota State University), College of St. Thomas (now the University of St. Thomas), Des Moines University, Creighton University, North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University), the University of North Dakota, Morningside College, the University of South Dakota, and Nebraska Wesleyan University.

The University of Northern Iowa was a member of the NCC from 1934 until 1978. UNI currently competes in Division I in the Missouri Valley Conference; in FCS football, it competes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. In 2002 Morningside College left the NCC to join the NAIA. The University of Northern Colorado left the conference in 2003, followed in 2004 by North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University. These three schools all transitioned their athletics programs from Division II to Division I; they became founding members of the Division I FCS Great West Football Conference, which started play in the fall of 2004. Since that time, Northern Colorado moved on to the Big Sky Conference in all sports in 2006. In the fall of 2006, North Dakota State and South Dakota State were admitted to The Summit League; they have also moved on to rejoin old conference mate Northern Iowa in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

It was announced on November 29, 2006 that the 2007–08 athletic season would be the final season for the NCC and that the conference would cease operations on July 1, 2008.[1]

Member schools

Charter members

The North Central Conference began in 1921 with nine charter members:

Institution Location Nickname Founded Type Enrollment Joined Left Current conference
Creighton University Omaha, Nebraska Bluejays 1878 Private
6,716 1921 1928 Big East
Des Moines University Des Moines, Iowa Tigers 1864 Private
330[5] 1921 1926 Closed in 1929
Morningside College Sioux City, Iowa Mustangs 1894 Private
1,149 1921 2002 GPAC (NAIA)
Nebraska Wesleyan University Lincoln, Nebraska Prairie Wolves 1887 Private
1,601 1921 1926 GPAC (NAIA)
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, North Dakota Fighting Hawks 1883 Public 13,817 1921 2008 Summit (all-sports)
Independent (football) (will join MVFC in 2020)
North Dakota State University Fargo, North Dakota Bison 1890 Public 13,229 1921 2004 Summit (all-sports)
MVFC (football)
University of St. Thomas St. Paul, Minnesota Tommies 1885 Private
10,534 1921 1928 MIAC
University of South Dakota Vermillion, South Dakota Coyotes 1862 Public 8,641 1921 2008 Summit (all-sports)
MVFC (football)
South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota Jackrabbits 1881 Public 12,816 1921 2004 Summit (all-sports)
MVFC (football)

Additional members

Institution Location Nickname Founded Type Enrollment Joined Left Current conference
Augustana College Sioux Falls, South Dakota Vikings 1860 Private
1,650 1941 2008 NSIC
University of Minnesota Duluth Duluth, Minnesota Bulldogs 1902, 1947 Public 10,497 2004 2008 NSIC
Minnesota State University, Mankato Mankato, Minnesota Mavericks 1868 Public 15,649 1968,
University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, Nebraska Mavericks 1908 Public 14,093 1934
University of Northern Colorado Greeley, Colorado Bears 1889 Public 12,392 1978 2003 Big Sky
University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa Panthers 1876 Public 14,070 1934 1978 Missouri Valley
St. Cloud State University St. Cloud, Minnesota Huskies 1869 Public 17,231 1981 2008 NSIC

Membership timeline

Membership evolution

  • The North Central Conference (also known as North Central Intercollegiate Conference) was founded in 1922 with nine charter members: College of St. Thomas, Creighton University, Des Moines University, Morningside College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, North Dakota Agricultural College, University of North Dakota, South Dakota State College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts, and the University of South Dakota.
  • Des Moines University left the NCC in 1926, the school eventually closed its doors in 1929. Nebraska Wesleyan also left, joining the Nebraska Conference. The North Central Conference was left with seven members.
  • In 1928, Creighton University and the College of St. Thomas (now University of St. Thomas) left the NCC. St. Thomas became a full member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference while Creighton left to join the Missouri Valley Conference. The NCC was left with five members.
  • In 1934 Iowa State Teachers College joined the NCC from the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Also, Omaha University joined the NCC to bring membership back up to seven schools.
  • In 1942 Augustana College left the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference to join the North Central Conference as its eighth member.
  • In 1946, Omaha University left the NCC to join the Central Intercollegiate Conference. The NCC is left with seven members.
  • In 1960 North Dakota Agricultural College was renamed North Dakota State University
  • In 1961 the Iowa State Teachers College was renamed the State College of Iowa
  • In 1964 South Dakota State College was renamed South Dakota State University
  • In 1967 State College of Iowa was renamed to the University of Northern Iowa
  • In 1968 Mankato State College joins the NCC from the Northern Intercollegiate Conference, bringing league membership up to eight teams.
  • In 1975 Mankato State College is renamed Mankato State University.
  • In 1976 the University of Nebraska at Omaha (Omaha University was renamed to UNO in 1968) rejoined the NCC, while Mankato State University leaves the NCC due to not fielding a team in the 1976 season. Membership in the NCC remains at eight schools.
  • In 1978 the University of Northern Colorado left the Great Plains Athletic Conference and joined the North Central Conference. In the same year, the University of Northern Iowa left the NCC to move to the Association of Mid-Continent Universities. Membership remained at eight schools.
  • In 1981 Mankato State University and St. Cloud State University joined the North Central Conference from the Northern Intercollegiate Conference, giving the NCC its largest membership total in history at 10 schools and it would remain at this level for the next 21 years. Membership at this time included: Augustana, Mankato State, Morningside, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota, South Dakota State, and St. Cloud State.
  • In 1998 Mankato State University is officially renamed to Minnesota State University, Mankato.
  • In 2002, Morningside College, one of the North Central Conference's charter members, leaves the league and moves out of NCAA Division II to the NAIA level. The NCC is left with nine members.
  • In 2003 the University of Northern Colorado announces plans to move up to NCAA Division I and leaves the NCC with eight members.
  • In 2004 charter members North Dakota State and South Dakota State also announce plans to move to Division I and leave the North Central Conference. SDSU, NDSU and Northern Colorado founded the FCS Great West Football Conference. The University of Minnesota-Duluth left the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference to join the NCC as its seventh member.
  • In 2006 Central Washington University and Western Washington University of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference joined the North Central Conference as affiliate members in the sport of football only to give the conference nine football schools.
  • In 2008 the two remaining charter members of the North Central Conference, the University of South Dakota and the University of North Dakota, announce plans to leave the conference and move up to Division I. This move led to the rest of the league members making a move. Central Washington and Western Washington joined up with other schools in the Pacific Northwest to form a football league in the GNAC. Augustana, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State remained in NCAA Division II by joining the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Finally Nebraska-Omaha also remained in Division II by joining the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA)before moving to Division I a year later. These moves resulted in the dissolution of the North Central Conference after having existed for 86 years.


The NCC sponsored baseball, men's and women's basketball, football, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling.

Six of the seven members of the NCC sponsored Division I ice hockey, and five still do. In men's hockey, after a major conference realignment that took effect in 2013, Minnesota–Duluth, Nebraska–Omaha, North Dakota, and St. Cloud State field teams in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, while Minnesota State–Mankato is a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Before the realignment, all of these schools had been members of the WCHA for men's hockey. All of these schools, except for Omaha, have women's teams in the WCHA (Omaha women's hockey is a club sport). The women's side of the WCHA was not affected by this realignment.

Associate members

Football - Western Washington University, Central Washington University

Women's Swimming and Diving - Colorado Mines, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Metro State (CO)

Men's Swimming and Diving - Colorado Mines, Metro State (CO)

Men's Tennis - Winona State

Conference football stadiums

School Football Stadium Stadium capacity
Augustana Howard Wood Field 10,000
Central Washington Tomlinson Stadium 4,000
Minnesota Duluth Griggs Field at James S. Malosky Stadium 4,000
Minnesota State Blakeslee Stadium 7,500
Nebraska-Omaha Al F. Caniglia Field 9,500
North Dakota Alerus Center 13,500
North Dakota State Fargodome 19,000
St. Cloud State Husky Stadium 4,198
South Dakota DakotaDome 10,000
South Dakota State Coughlin-Alumni Stadium 16,000
Western Washington Civic Stadium 5,000


  1. "Thomas: NCC will fold in summer 2008". Forum Communications Co. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-11-30.
  2. "USD to Move Athletic Programs to Division I". University of South Dakota. 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
  3. "Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Expands to 14 Teams" (PDF). Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-24.
  4. "MIAA CEO Council ratifies decision to add Nebraska-Omaha". Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-05-24.
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