Frontier Conference
Frontier Conference logo.svg
FormerlyMontana Collegiate Conference (1920-35)
CommissionerKent Paulson
Sports fielded
  • 16
    • men's: 8
    • women's: 8
No. of teams9 (6 full, 3 associate)
HeadquartersWhitefish, Montana
RegionWestern United States
Location of teams in (({title))}

The Frontier Conference is a college athletic conference affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The conference was founded in 1934. Member institutions are located in the northwestern United States, in the states of Idaho, Montana, and Oregon.


The Montana Small College Conference (MSCC) was established in 1934 by the five smaller schools (Montana Technological University, the University of Montana Western, Montana State University–Northern, Intermountain Union College and Billings Polytechnic Institute) in the state. After a few seasons, the MSCC was renamed as the Montana Collegiate Conference (MCC) in 1936, with the additions of Montana State University Billings and Carroll College joining, as well as the merger of International Union and Billings Poly to become Rocky Mountain College. After nearly three decades, the conference reestablished itself under its current moniker in November 1966, containing the same six schools until 1974.[1] The University of Providence (then the College of Great Falls) joined that year, however would only stay for a decade. MSU Billings left for the first incarnation of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in 1988, leaving the Frontier at five members for another decade. The conference opened up outside of Montana for the first time in 1998, with schools from Idaho (Lewis–Clark State College) and Utah (Westminster College) joining. Great Falls re-joined in 1999. Dickinson State University joined in 2012, only to leave in 2014 to join the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA). Westminster (Utah) left for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II ranks and re-joined the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) in 2015. Lewis–Clark State left for the Cascade Collegiate Conference as a full member in 2020.[2]

Chronological timeline

Member schools

The Frontier Conference has 5 full members with football, 1 full member without football, and 3 football-only affiliate members. University of Providence does not field a football team. College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon are the football-only affiliates.[3]

Current members

The Frontier currently has six full members, half are private schools:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined[a]
Carroll College Helena, Montana 1909 Catholic
(Diocese of Helena)
1,502 Fighting Saints 1935
Montana State University–Northern Havre, Montana 1929 Public[b] 1,207 Lights &
Montana Technological University Butte, Montana 1889 Public[b] 2,694 Orediggers 1934
University of Montana Western Dillon, Montana 1893 Public[b] 1,336 Bulldogs 1934
University of Providence[c] Great Falls, Montana 1932 Catholic
800 Argonauts 1974;
Rocky Mountain College[e] Billings, Montana 1878 various[f] 894 Battlin' Bears 1936
  1. ^ Represents the calendar year when fall sports competition begins.
  2. ^ a b c Part of the Montana University System.
  3. ^ Formerly known as the University of Great Falls until 2017.
  4. ^ Providence (then known as Great Falls) did not have an athletics program from 1984–85 to 1998–99.
  5. ^ Rocky Mountain was formed by a merger of Intermountain Union College and Billings Polytechnic Institute since late 1935. But their athletic programs continued until the end of the 1935–36 school year.
  6. ^ Rocky Mountain has various affiliations: The Mainline Protestant, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the United Church of Christ.

Affiliate members

The Frontier currently has three affiliate members, only one of them is a private school:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined[a] Frontier
College of Idaho Caldwell, Idaho 1891 Presbyterian
1,010 Coyotes 2014 football Cascade (CCC)
Eastern Oregon University La Grande, Oregon 1929 Public 3,743 Mountaineers 2008
Southern Oregon University Ashland, Oregon 1872 5,696 Raiders 2012
  1. ^ Represents the calendar year when fall sports competition begins.

Future affiliate members

The Frontier will have one new affiliate member, which will also be a private school:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joining[a] Frontier
Arizona Christian University[4] Glendale, Arizona 1960 Nondenominational 820 Firestorm 2023 football Golden State (GSAC)
  1. ^ Represents the calendar year when fall sports competition begins.

Former members

The Frontier had four former full members, only one was a private school:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined[a] Left[b] Subsequent
Dickinson State University Dickinson, North Dakota 1918 Public 2,572 Blue Hawks 2012 2014 North Star (NSAA)
Lewis–Clark State College Lewiston, Idaho 1893 4,500 Warriors &
Lady Warriors
1998 2020 Cascade (CCC)
Eastern Montana College[c] Billings, Montana 1927 4,600 Yellowjackets 1933 1980 various[e] Great Northwest (GNAC)[d]
Westminster College Salt Lake City, Utah 1875 Nonsectarian 3,108 Griffins 1998 2015 Rocky Mountain (RMAC)[d]
  1. ^ Represents the calendar year when fall sports competition begins.
  2. ^ Represents the calendar year when spring sports competition ends.
  3. ^ Currently known as Montana State University–Billings since 1994. Eastern Montana was the school name that reflected its use during conference membership.
  4. ^ a b c d Currently an NCAA Division II athletic conference.
  5. ^ Eastern Montana (now Montana State–Billings) had joined the following subsequent conferences: as an NCAA D-II Independent from 1980–81 to 1981–82; the Pacific West Conference[d] (PacWest) from 1982–83 to 2004–05 (originally known as the Great Northwest Conference from 1982–83 to 1991–92); and the Heartland Conference[d] from 2005–06 to 2006–07.

Membership timeline

College of IdahoSouthern Oregon UniversityNorth Star Athletic AssociationDickinson State UniversityEastern Oregon UniversityRocky Mountain Athletic ConferenceWestminster College (Utah)Cascade Collegiate ConferenceLewis–Clark State CollegeUniversity of ProvidenceRocky Mountain CollegeMontana State University–NorthernCarroll CollegeGreat Northwest Athletic ConferenceHeartland ConferencePacific West ConferencePacific West ConferenceMontana State University BillingsUniversity of Montana WesternMontana Technological UniversityRocky Mountain CollegeRocky Mountain College

 Full member (all sports)   Full member (non-football)   Associate member (football-only) 


The Frontier Conference sponsors athletic competition in men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's football, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and women's volleyball.

National championships


Montana Western won the NAIA national title in Division I Women's basketball, in 2019.

Rocky Mountain won the national title in men's basketball, NAIA Division I, in 2009.

Montana State-Northern won the national title in women's basketball, NAIA Division II, in 1993.

Carroll reached the semi-finals in men's basketball in 2005, as did Lewis-Clark State in women's basketball in 2001.


Carroll has won the NAIA national championship six times: four straight, from 2002 to 2005, also in 2007 and 2010, and has been runner-up twice.

Southern Oregon won the NAIA national championship in the 2014 season.

Montana Tech was the national runner-up in 1996.


Montana State-Northern has won six wrestling titles: 1991, 1992, 1998-2000, 2004, and was runner-up in 1990, 1993, and 2002.

Montana Western was co-champion in 1994.

In 2014, the University of Great Falls was second and Montana State-Northern took third at the NAIA national wrestling championship.


College of Great Falls (now University of Providence) was the 1973 Men's NAIA National Bowling Champion.

See also


  1. ^ "Montana Collegiate League Changes Name". Daily Herald. Provo, Utah. United Press International. November 13, 1966. p. 20. Retrieved October 25, 2019 – via open access.
  2. ^ "Lewis-Clark State leaving Frontier Conference to join Cascade Collegiate Conference". May 20, 2019. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  3. ^ "College of Idaho football to join Frontier Conference". Idaho Press. June 27, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Arizona Christian Firestorm to Join the Frontier Conference in 2023 - News