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.
— David Brown (@DBrownMidcoSN) June 16, 2021
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