Pretty good breakdown of the various options (that I deleted in this quote for space considerations). I'm not as big a fan of having the MVC absorb the MVCF because of a couple lingering questions:
1) Would NDSU go for it? They obviously are big dog in the MVCF, but being an affiliate member of a conference in one sport is usually not preferred for a big dog
2) It brings slightly more complicated expansion decisions. For example, Murray wouldn't be able to leave their football in the OVC if they join us, while under the current format, I believe they'd be allowed to. The Dakota schools would have a louder voice in expansion decisions for basketball than they currently do
I do wonder if the status of MVCF as a relatively big dog in FCS makes things tricky. Anything that gives the Dakotas a louder voice in the expansion discussion is risky, IMO.
1. Doesn't matter if NDSU would go for it. The MVC (I'm going to include YSU as part of the MVC schools from now on in this post) out number Summit schools. NDSU has zero other options right now - or any time soon. They can be the big dog all they want, DGAF. They can be an affiliate MVFC member, like all schools, or be an affiliate in the MVC. Litearlly nothing changes for them in terms of how they are set up. They might feel like someone is out to get them, but that's their own issue.
Remember, it's not the MVC starting football and inviting all of these schools. It would be the MVFC ceding power to the MVC. There is precedent for that before - see the CAA/Yankee/A10 history. All that would change is that Patty would work for the MVC in the football capacity - not the MVFC. Or Patty gives control to Doug Elgin (scary as well) and keeps control of the PFL.
2. It doesn't really complicate expansion decisions. The MVC wouldn't be taking over control this year anyway (in this hypothetical). Murray State is going to have to stay a member of the OVC, no matter what, this year. It's impossible for both conferences to make it work this late. MVFC schedules are set through 2019, which is why UND isn't joining until 2020. MVC takes over control of the MVFC doesn't change any of that, it just changes the "who is in control". Maybe the name goes from MVFC to just MVC. If the OVC really throws a fit then the conference redoes 2018 and 2019s schedules. It would suck, but so be it.
It's clearly not as simple as I laid out, but message boards are for over simplifying. It could work. The biggest thing, as you said, is keeping the Summit schools from being able to take control. If they don't like it and want to try to start their own, so be it. I guess it'll suck to lose 2 quality programs in NDSU and SDSDU and then a long time rival like WIU, but I'd rather focus on the MVC being healthy and competitive long term than my football league. I think that's the story you'd hear from UNI, ISUr, ISUb, SIU and probably even MSU.
Protecting those 5, plus Murray State should they join, should be priority #1 after adding a quality team or two for depth. If that means folding the football league into the all sports conference, it should be considered. Again, the Summit teams don't have enough football members to start their own conference, and their isn't much precedent for the NCAA to allow them to start a new league and get an automtic bid to the playoffs simply because their league office changed hands, but nothing on the day to day side of it. Even if they allowed it they are going to have to create a 13-14 team all sports conference stretching from Indiana to Fargo to Oklahoma to both sides of Utah to do it. A 13-14 team 1 big league isn't a good idea. NCAA money gets spread real thin real quick in that. Barely enough to offset travel.