Montana Grizzlies Stand Pat

The University of Montana Grizzlies will stay in the Big Sky Conference and not move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision, school president Royce Engstrom said Thursday.

“It was a complex decision with many pros and cons,” Engstrom said in a statement. “In the end, the better course is to stay with the conference we helped establish in 1963 and to continue building on its solid foundation.”

Engstrom said there were three keys to his decision — he wanted to maintain the cross-state football rivalry with Montana State; he wanted the Grizzlies to compete against institutions with similar academic missions; and he wanted to maintain the prestige and integrity the program has demonstrated.

Talk about enlightened leadership. Stories like this help me battle cynicism. In a day and age where the default is to constantly grow, continuously generate more money, and routinely increase one’s profile, the Grizz said, “We have a very good thing going and we don’t want to risk losing it.”

No doubt many Grizz alum and fans don’t see it the same way as me which makes his “no thank you” to the bright lights and big bucks of big time college football all the more remarkable.

Maybe Engstrom drew strength from this Emmylou Harris track.

I’ve felt adrift lately. Lost even. At times I wonder if some radical changes might help me feel less adrift, less lost. So far at least I’m following Engstrom’s and the Grizz’s example, looking within, finding lots to appreciate, and standing pat.

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