It is mind boggling how many strides the athletic programs at the two largest institutions of higher learning in South Dakota have come in the past ten years.  We shall use a decade as the reference point because at the beginning of the academic year in 2002-2003, South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota were both in NCAA Division 2.  Since then, both have moved into Division 1 and the facility upgrades that taken place plus the proposed new facilities show that these guys mean business.

Recently it was disclosed that USD had met approval from the South Dakota Board of Regents for the USD Sports Performance Enhancement Facility Arena and Outdoor Track and Soccer Complex.  This is a significant addition to the Coyote Athletic Program because previously, USD did not have the ability to host a college-level track meet on or near campus.  The Soccer complex will boost the fortunes of the sport of Women's Soccer on the Vermillion campus, however there is no Men's Soccer team currently, nor on the immediate horizon.  The new arena will make the biggest impact for the Basketball and Volleyball programs as the Coyotes will realize the goal of moving those sports out of the cavernous Dakotadome to a more intimate setting.

As for their neighbors to the North, South Dakota State University has seen rapid expansion of their digs with the construction of the Dykhouse Center as a part of the football field.  Incidentally, SDSU looks to expand football stadium capacity and modernize the press box as well. Plus an indoor football practice venue is on the wish list.  Jackrabbit Baseball and Softball have a seen significant boost with better places to play and the Equestrian team with a corresponding facility has been added since the move to D-1.

The conference rivalries are now being stoked again and gobs of private money is now the impetus for these athletic endeavors.  Just think what could happen if the Jacks men's basketball team pull an upset in the NCAA tournament or if USD could produce a few All-American tracksters.  It's possible.  Because ten years ago, you could probably count on one hand the people who could predict the huge impact a Division 1 move for both schools would have.  Just think what could have been done if more people would have supported it.

DP