Summit League Denies Augustana’s Application for Division I Membership

Dave Brown of Midco Sports Network tweeted this afternoon the contents of email communication from the Augustana administration to their constituents. The letter acknowledged that Augustana University’s application had been rejected by the Summit League presidents, thwarting their plan to move from Division II to Division I NCAA competition. The decision was swift following a ‘virtual tour’ of the Augustana campus by member University presidents over the weekend.

The Vikings will continue to compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. However, as part of their 10-year ‘Viking Bold” strategic plan, they will continue to pursue Division I athletic membership. If for some unforeseen reason St. Thomas’ application is denied or Western Illinois exits the Summit League, expect the Vikings to be lying in wait for reconsideration.

This comes as no surprise for several reasons. First, Augustana, a very small private school (smaller than DU even), had a very different profile than most other conference members. Members questioned their ability to consistently compete in the conference. Second, there were concerns about whether South Dakota could support three DI programs.  Third, the St. Thomas application looks promising and would move conference membership to ten and a balanced schedule. The addition of Augustana as an eleventh member would have created an unbalanced schedule causing scheduling complications. The NCAA is expected to make a decision on St. Thomas’ application next month.

David Brown is from Sioux Falls, South Dakota and works for Midco Sports Network and also does play-by-play for Augustana’s Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

3 thoughts on “Summit League Denies Augustana’s Application for Division I Membership”

  1. Thank God.

    That school is just too small and has no business in D-I. Augie would dilute the Summit Brand, cannibalize the South Dakota market and would struggle to compete financially. Those reasons to deny membership far outweigh any academic, athletic, scheduling or geographic footprint benefits Augie could bring to the Summit. USD and SDSU already serve Sioux Falls quite well…

  2. Even if this were normal times, I would welcome this news as I agree with Swami’s points

    With the uncertainty of Fall and financial stability of ALL Universities and Colleges in question, this would have been a terrible move for all involved at this time

  3. With all due respect, it’s the right decision. Augustana does not belong in the Summit. That said, I feel a bit for them. The world of intercollegiate sports is a tricky one, especially financially, and everyone is jostling for their piece of the pie. Those of use who read this blog have all read and contemplated the discussions, prospects, and desires of DU to move into a more prestigious hoops conference themselves. But at the end of the day, what conference would want DU? The shoe is on the other foot here with Augustana, and again, I can’t help but feel a bit for that school.

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