Dickinson State University (DSU) and the Frontier Conference announced Tuesday that Dickinson State will join the Frontier Conference as a full member beginning in the 2025-26 academic year.

"This is a significant milestone for the Frontier Conference and the NAIA,” stated Dr. John Cech, Chair of the Frontier Conference Council of Presidents, and President of Carroll College. “The Frontier Conference is one of the most competitive athletic conferences in the nation and on behalf of the Council of Presidents, I am pleased to welcome Dickinson State University to our conference as a full member starting in 2025."

“I join the Frontier Conference members in warmly welcoming Dickinson State University as our newest member,” said Dr. Scott Crawford, Frontier Conference Commissioner. “We forecast great things on the horizon and continued athletic prowess with this key addition to our membership. I envision a number of positive outcomes with this decision including future expansion into sports including baseball, softball, and competitive cheer.”

DSU will return to the Frontier where they were a member for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. The Blue Hawks will depart the North Star Athletic Association, which has been their primary conference since 2014.

“We have enjoyed competing in the North Star conference and we wish our North Star competitors much continued success,” stated Dickinson State President Steve Easton. “But we are excited to join the Frontier Conference, which is one of the top NAIA conferences in the entire country. With many Blue Hawk student-athletes from Montana and a long history of competing against Frontier Conference universities in the non-conference season in several sports, we look forward to strengthening our rivalries with our friends from the Frontier Conference.”

DSU’s NAIA sports teams include football, volleyball, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s golf, softball, baseball, cheer, and men’s and women’s wrestling. The newest Blue Hawk NAIA sport is women’s wrestling, which is currently in its first year of competition. Non-NAIA DSU sports include rodeo, e-sports, and shooting (trap) sports, all of which are co-ed.

The addition of Dickinson State will give the Frontier seven full-time members in women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s track and field. It also brings the conference to 10 football programs with six full-time members and four associate members.  


Aerial view of the new Sanford Sports Complex at night.


Athletics are an important part of the DSU community, with Blue Hawk student-athletes achieving substantial success on and off the field. This fall, the Blue Hawks won their ninth consecutive North Star Athletic Association conference championship in football and both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams also won conference championships.

Blue Hawk competitive success this fall reflects the overall strength of Dickinson State’s athletic program. In the most recently completed academic year, 2022-23, Blue Hawk student-athletes won the North Star Commissioner’s Cup, awarded to the most athletically successful school in the conference. It was the second win for the Blue Hawks in the past three seasons. In both 2022 and 2023, the Blue Hawk competitive cheer team finished fourth in the nation.

Dickinson State has won four national NAIA team championships, including volleyball in 2000 and men’s track and field in 2004, 2005, and 2006, and numerous individual NAIA championships, including USTFCCA National Scholar-Athlete of the Year Kaitlyn McColly’s heptathlon win at the 2023 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Several Blue Hawk student-athlete alumni have competed in the Olympics, including 2010 alum Ramon Miller, who took the baton as the anchor runner for his Bahamas 4 x 400-meter relay team in the 2012 London Olympics with a deficit of approximately five meters, then overcame the lead runner on the home straightaway to earn his country’s first-ever men’s track gold medal. 


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. Home to six full members and four associate members, the Frontier uses the motto, "Promoting Academic and Athletic Excellence."

To view the official press conference, please click here or watch on the Frontier Conference Facebook page.