Augustana Announces Intention to Add Division I Men’s Hockey in 2023

Augustana continues to commit to a future Division I affiliation with the latest announcement that they are going to add men’s hockey in 2023…with no apparent invitation to a conference for the rest of its current athletics offerings or hockey.

The Western Athletic Conference is an unlikely option as they move to become more of a Southwest, Texas-centric football conference. The Summit League has full membership but our guess is that Western Illinois could possibly exit at some point for the Ohio Valley Conference, the Missouri Valley Conference (their football conference), or the Horizon League. That may reopen the door for Augustana to add D1 sports and hockey (NCAA D1 Rule: Schools must field teams in at least seven sports for men and seven for women or six for men and eight for women, with at least two team sports for each gender). And, schools cannot move to D1 status without an invitation to an existing D1 conference. Several colleges like Colorado College have been grandfathered into D1 sports but that would not be the case with Augustana.

Expect another hard run by the Vikings at Summit League when/if the Leathernecks exit the Summit League.

Top photo: Cappex

3 thoughts on “Augustana Announces Intention to Add Division I Men’s Hockey in 2023”

  1. Augustana is not currently equipped to be a D-I school in any sport. With only 2,000 students and an endowment well under $100 million, the infrastructure isn’t there for D-I success and the brand name is substandard at best. They should stay in D-II.

    It’s going to take HUGE checks from T. Denny Stanford to make D-I sports even viable at a school like that.

  2. If you don’t have the endowments to support sports. You need the community support and Sioux Falls will support D-I. The local USHL teams has averaged 6,400 fans the last 6 seasons. The local G League team has been averaging over 3,700 over it’s entire lifetime (5,500 to 2,000) and the Minor League baseball and Indoor football have been very successful also… Simply put, Sioux Falls is a sports town.

    Plus, facilities are already in place if they wanted to use the Premier Center for hockey. But it sounds like a new facility is going up on campus. In addition, Augie already has a very nice football stadium and they play gym sports in the Pentagon which already hosts “P5 – nonconference” games. So, other than the new on campus hockey facility. Much of the “Facilities” pieces are already in place within the SF community.

    It really comes down to operating numbers. If hockey is as successful as I think it will be “financially”. You could see a push for the rest of the sports.

  3. Obviously, they could not get into the NCHC. I’d guess the CCHA is the most logical option. I just don’t see how all this will work. Plus, the Sanford money may not last forever. They almost got bought out by Intermountain Healthcare last year and there could be others.

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