According to Southern Utah University Athletic Director Jack Bishop, the T-Birds are making little progress toward entering into a football conference.
Eleven SUU sports teams compete in the Mid-Continent Conference, but football and gymnastics are the only two sports not sponsored by the conference.Four Mid-Con schools field football teams. Youngstown State, the 1997 Division I-AA champion, and Western Illinios compete in the Gateway Conference, Valparaiso has a nonscholarship football program and Southern Utah.
The ideal, according to Bishop, would be to form a conference with Midwest and Western teams such as independents St. Mary's and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (both of which are on the 1998 SUU schedule), but he doesn't expect any movement in the near future.
In 1998, the T-Birds will face four I-AA playoff teams (Montana, McNeese State (the I-AA runner-up), Western Illinois and Eastern Washington). In all, the T-Birds face four Big Sky Conference schools - Montana, EWU, Idaho State and Cal-State Northridge and two Gateway Conference opponents - Illinois State and Western Illinios. Also, the T-Birds will face Div. II semifinalist UC-Davis.