Bush league Summit exit engineered by IUPUI

One of the worst and most confusing names in college sports, IUPUI, just developed a new reputation to match as the Jaguars will leave the Summit League with virtually no notice.

It’s totally understandable that teams want to move conferences to improve their situation. However, when IUPUI announced their jump to the Horizon League this morning, only two months before the 2017-18 season starts, it was a gut shot to coaches and players in the Summit League.

For example, DU men’s and women’s soccer were scheduled to play the Jaguars September 23rd and October 20th at CIBER Field. A volleyball match is scheduled at Hamilton Gym for September 22nd and Indy on October 20th. The DU basketball home and away schedules have not been released, but this will create another hole in DU’s athletic calendar.

What a mess.

IUPUI conducted a Facebook streaming video this morning. They are “appreciative of their [19 year] relationship with the Summit League” but are leaving, effective July 1st, 2017. A whopping 3-day notice. Why? According to their chancellor, the Horizon League shares their “core values”.


The athletic schedules for fall and winter are complete for most Division I programs by now. For example, DU men’s soccer will either leave the IUPUI date open or look to find any suitable program with an open date willing to play them. The risk is a ding to their RPI by desperately scheduling a match with a potentially inferior opponent which may damage a potential at-large NCAA bid at the end of the season. Women’s volleyball, expected to be very strong this year as well, is likely to have the same issue. As for basketball, a 20-win target for an NCAA program is the gold standard. In Rodney Billups’ second year, two fewer games will give the Pioneers much less of a chance to achieve that target and qualify, potentially for a tournament such as the NIT. In basketball, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to schedule non-conference games at this late date.

The following is a snippet of some comments on IUPUI’s video:

Tim Thompson
Tim Thompson · 2:05 Poor decision by IUPUI to give the Summit League such short notice before the start of the season.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) · The department wasn’t actively seeking a move from The Summit League, but made the decision when this opportunity presented itself. It’s commonplace for universities to keep tabs on the ever-changing landscape of conference realignment. -Sam
Tim Thompson
Tim Thompson · Teams already have set schedules in the Summit League. IUPUI is leaving former conference members high and dry.


And partial responsibility has to fall to the Summit League Commissioner Tom Dauple who, despite a million dollar exit penalty clause for member institutions, could not delay this hasty exit. Who knows, the Horizon League may have picked up all or part of the exit tab – they are in an aggressive expansion mode. And, the Summit League’s Fort Wayne is likely included in the next wave. Unfortunately, this departure leaves Denver coaches no time to schedule new opponents and, more importantly, diminishes the stature of an already fragile conference.

To add to the problem, the Summit League, which added North Dakota for next year, will be back to having an odd number of teams.

But the source of the damage is clear – IUPUI. Their decision to leave two months before the fall athletic season starts was the very definition of bush league. They know the difficulty of changing schedules this late in the summer yet, they are making the jump with little or no regard for their peer schools. If they gave a more customary one-year notice, it would have been a seamless transition when North Dakota moved to the conference and they could have exited gracefully. Instead, they are more focused on satisfying their new league’s needs and filling the hole left in the Horizon Conference with the exit of Valparaiso.

If the Summit reacts and does the same thing by poaching another program to fill this void on short notice, it will reflect equally poorly on the Summit League.  Could you imagine a member from the premier NCHC leaving the league in August? Unthinkable. Or a Big East lacrosse member giving notice in December? Never. Or a big 12 gymnastics program giving members a 60-day notice before the start of the season? You get the point.

In the end, the Summit will go on. Denver will continue to build rivalries with the likes of Omaha and build on an already great one with North Dakota. But this is simply a sad situation that reflects poorly on the Summit League and even worse upon the integrity and “values” of IUPUI.

9 thoughts on “Bush league Summit exit engineered by IUPUI”

  1. It is disappointing to see these kinds of games being played. If they had any class, they would have waited a year, alas what do you really expect from a school that has University in their name twice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sucks. I can’t believe the Summit does not have a 1 year notification policy. Maybe they do and IUPUI is saying, so what. Nice law suit material, but that’s not our goal. Only Notre Dame gets away with this crap all the time.
    We actually might be able to add a soccer game and volleyball match. However we will be at the mercy of the new games as to time, location, and they might want money. Almost definite we will pay some bucks here. Some D1 schools can find the time for another game.
    Hoops is more problematic. 2 games. Figure both on road against a SWAC like team. The following may occur:
    1. Road games. This costs money. Sure someone might come play us, but they will want a nice financial guarantee that only large schools are usually willing to pay to “buy a win”.
    2. Timing. Before league play. Or in the middle of League play. Almost all D1 schools have a set schedule by now. Back to back games may occur.
    3. Money. Some lower tier D1 schools complete their schedules by adding 1-3 non D1 opponents. Sure, they would rather play us. (Think Abiline Christine, Incarnate Word, or Podunk U) To add such a game, we would have to pay their guarantee to their non-D1 opponents.

    Now you see why IUPUI is affectionately known in Indiana as Uweey-Puey

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is SOP for conference bed hopping. Short-term scheduling issues for fall sports are problematic, but long-term this move and the presumed eventual move of Purdue-Fort Wayne (IPFW) will result in a tighter geographical footprint for the Summit. With the core Dakota 4 as the foundation, the linchpin to the Summit for DU is Omaha. If the Mavs were to be poached by say the Missouri Valley (not likely), then DU should worry. But as it stands, Dakota 4, DU, Omaha, ORU, and WIU is a fairly solid and stable league. Add in a potential UMKC and/or a Northern Colorado down the road as potential stabilization, and you have a conference from which DU can grow, especially in men’s hoops.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Scheduling immediately: Food for thought. It’s doubtful Horizon League teams knew for certain this was coming. Thus their soccer, volleyball, and hoops schedules must be complete. Now they have to squeeze in IUPUI w/o notice. (if energized, I will look at Horizon schools entire 2017-2018 hoops schedules, though I’d prefer Puck Swami do this for me) Horizon teams will have to break some contracts. Why can’t those Horizon opponents fill in for the gaps created for every Summit League school? Honestly, this would most likely give Summit members a boost in quality of opponents. To use a oft mentioned expression in reverse context: IUPUI is chopped liver. Maybe just liver. We all grew up hating when our parents made us eat liver. BYE BYE IUPUI.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the idea but I believe that you will not see any games in the near future between the two conferences. The Summit members are pissed at the lack of notice. Do not expect a warm, cooperative relationship, especially on game scheduling, in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. All of this conference realignment is just terrible for most parties involved and it doesn’t seem like it will get any better in the near future.

    I never had any strong opinions on IUPUI, but this was a pretty BS move, one most folks won’t soon forget.

    It will be interesting to see what happens overall, I don’t think the MVC is stable, which means the Horizon and Summit are probably always going to be at risk, at least in their current form.

    Liked by 3 people

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