BILLINGS -- The direction of MSU Billings' athletic department is on the line this week as the Yellowjackets interview three finalists on campus for their athletic director position.
After Krista Montague announced her resignation in March, MSUB's short list is narrowed to one candidate who worked most recently in Illinois, one in Oregon and one who used to work in the Yellowjackets' athletic department.
Wednesday, MSUB welcomed former Yellowjacket staffer Michael Bazemore back to campus.
He spent five years on staff in a variety of roles including director of compliance. It was his job to lay down the law as chief rules officer and compliance liaison to the NCAA and GNAC. That was his MSUB role for three years and it's carried over to Bazemore's current job as assistant director of academic and membership affairs for the NCAA national office in Indianapolis.
"We're like a very highly skilled consulting firm because we don't have a dog in the fight, per say," Bazemore told MTN Sports at Wednesday's public forum. "We make sure all of our NCAA DII schools are competing at a high level and competing in terms of rules and regulations on the same level."
Bazemore is in his third year of working for the NCAA office.
He took advantage of a little extra leverage in his MSUB tenure, also working in media relations and on the gameday operations staff.
"Absolutely, you want to make sure you have as much information as you can," he said. "I've always felt like it's hard for you to give a full critique unless you have in-depth understanding of certain areas. So, I'm not somebody that's unwilling to do the work that I'm asking somebody else to do."
The athletic director's job comes with a lot of paperwork and Bazemore is used to it. He provides NCAA bylaw interpretations for member schools, processes relief waivers and is the primary contact for the Division II school performance program. His climb to the NCAA office included stops at Truman State and Metropolitan State after leaving MSUB.
Bazemore said he's had the itch to become an athletic director since completing his college career, and four years of football, at Michigan State.
"I felt like I had the background as a student-athlete, (so) how do I get the proper education to hold that position," he recalled wondering. "Grad school, internship, hired on staff (at MSUB) -- I started as an assistant sports information director -- was promoted to compliance and internal operations.
"So, yeah, the goal was always to become an athletic director. I want to take MSUB to a place where we can be competitive at a high level consistently year in and year out across the entire athletic department."
Peyton Deterding, whose most recent role was athletic director at the University of Illinois Springfield, was interviewed on campus Monday, followed by Michael Feuling, a development officer for the annual fund and community relations at Linn Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon, on Tuesday.
MSUB chancellor Stefani Hicswa is expected to name the school's new athletic director by next week, according to the athletic department, with a start date of July 1.