Photo: Courtesy of Argus Leader. The new Summit League’s office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on the Sanford Health Campus is now nearing completion.
Conference coaches jokingly refer to the Summit League as the ‘Sanford League’. But let’s hope the Dakota-centric league rethinks their reliance on North and South Dakota for new members. With only 880,000 people in South Dakota and 760,000 people in North Dakota, a sixth DI member from one of the two states, Augustana University, may be too many – even for die-hard locals.
Can a small state like South Dakota support a third Division I program? Will Augustana cannibalize other South Dakota member fan bases? Will the addition of yet one more member persuade non-Dakota members to either depart or deter new member schools from other states from joining? Continue reading Cozy Summit League relationships cast dark shadow over Augustana
Why did the Summit League add UMKC and why now?
The addition of UMKC takes the number of schools in the Summit League to 10 – an ideal number for scheduling, travel partners and stability.
But not so fast.
It has been known for quite some time that current Summit member Fort Wayne has been expected to leave the conference for a more geographically convenient landing spot, like the Horizon Conference – even Summit League commissioner Tom Douple has admitted so. And, it seems Western Illinois is always balancing precariously on the financial ropes. But interestingly, the biggest concern of many Summit League members is the future of baseball. With only six teams, the Summit barely meets the NCAA minimum for an auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament. The loss of either the Mastodons or Leathernecks would likely be fatal to baseball – especially to Summit League members on the southern flank. Continue reading Why Baseball and Augustana College Drove UMKC’s Summit League Return
According to a report from the Washington Post, the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) is leaving the Western Athletic Conference and returning to the Summit League for the 2020-2021 season. The addition of UMKC will bring conference membership to ten schools. The move makes it unclear what will happen with Augustana College – a school considered to be a shoo-in for the Summit League’s tenth opening when they transition to Division I play.
Interestingly, reports cited an ‘invitation’ which was extended by the Summit League to UMKC. According to the Washington Post, “We’re thankful to the WAC and their commitment to Division I excellence. We accepted the invitation to return to the Summit League because, after careful review, we believe it will help us achieve our goals,” UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said in a statement. Continue reading Rapid Reaction: UMKC Returning to Summit League
DU Women Dominated the Field
While recent season’s showed DU men overshadowing their women counterparts, 2018-2019 was the Year of Women in Athletics at DU. Women’s hoops, led by Jim Turgeon, went 18-14 and won a first round NIT road contest against New Mexico. Women’s golf won the Summit League and went to the NCAA’s. Gymnastics advanced to the NCAA team finals – the first time ever and showed that they have the potential to be the first women’s team at Denver to win a national championship. Liza Kelly directed women’s lacrosse to a 16-4 record and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. Women’s soccer, a long time staple at Denver, went 13-6-2, won the Summit League and went to the NCAA playoffs. Women’s tennis drove their way way to a 17-6 record with a power five schedule, won the Summit League and went to the NCAA’s. Volleyball went 27-3 – undefeated during the Summit League regular season and advanced to the NCAA’s.
What is even more amazing, these women’s teams may be even better next season. Continue reading Five Big Takeaways from 2018-2019
Denver Men’s Basketball.
With perennial national contenders that fill the halls of Ritchie Center, the Denver Athletics program boasts a rich tradition and history of success. And yet, somehow the men’s basketball program has fallen behind and continues to be a puzzle at best. It’s a program that should be able to contend in the Summit League but is showing troubling signs of regression.
Some claim that with DU’s rich hockey tradition, basketball will never prosper at University and Evans, while other DU fans hope basketball never prospers at all, as it may be seen to threaten hockey’s long-standing primacy as DU’s winter flagship sport. Still others, likely the larger crowd, wish for a day when both sports flourish and cheering crowds flock to Magness Arena in support of both programs. Count us in that latter group. Continue reading Denver Athletics’ elephant in the room
The University of Denver has targeted only one day as their primary campaign to drive giving to the University – and today is the day.
Once again, there are a number of great causes you can give to during the University of Denver’s #1Day4DU. And, it is easier than ever this year to navigate your giving options and help DU students.
As usual, we hope part of your gift giving will include Denver Athletics – the most successful division at the University. We also believe Club Sports & Alpine Club provide valuable experiences for students and create lifelong bonds between participants and the University of Denver.
As a reminder, the Denver Athletic Department just completed one of their best years – ever. The Athletic Department is headed for yet another Director’s Cup. But that means Denver must continue to recruit and retain some of the best coaches, staff and athletes in collegiate athletics. And, there is ‘cost-of-attendance’ to retain students who are many times from out of state or even outside the US. So, we believe the option to Invest in the Student Athlete is a great choice this year.
Please take some time today and give. And, of course, GO Pioneers!
Photo: Denver Athletics. Elvin Rodriguez announced his intention to transfer out of the Denver basketball program.
As some of you may know, Denver basketball recently lost three players who have decided to leave the hoops program early – sophomores’ Donoven Carlisle and Elvin Rodriquez along with red-shirt senior Jake Krafka. All three players are transferring to other programs. Add the graduation of Ronnie Harrell, Jr. and Joe Rosga and DU is left with no juniors and only one senior on the roster – Ade Murkey.
In total, when looking at DU’s top five scorers from this past season, Denver is left with 19.4 points per game (Murkey 11.3 ppg. & David Nzekwesi 8.1 ppg.) of 52.5 points from last season’s ‘top five’ team scorers. Continue reading Denver Men’s Hoops’ departures mirror other Summit League foes
Photo courtesy DU Athletics
DENVER – Just two days after they played their best, most dominant game of the season in a 17-11 victory in the BIG EAST semifinals, the top-seeded Denver Pioneers laid an egg against the reigning BIG EAST champion Georgetown Hoyas in a 12-9 loss. While the championship game loss didn’t end their season a year ago, barring a shocking decision on the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s part, Denver’s season is over. Continue reading Denver falls to Georgetown to BIG EAST title game for second straight year
Photo courtesy Denver Athletics
DENVER – It was the Denver Pioneers’ best, most dominant performance of the year and elated fans of the Crimson & Gold were left to wonder, “where the heck has this been all season?” Just less than a month after the Villanova Wildcats came to Denver and upset the Pioneers in a 12-11 thriller, the Pioneers returned the favor and then some in a 17-11 victory in the BIG EAST Semifinals at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. After giving up the first goal, the Pioneers turned it on and poured it on jumping to a 12-3 halftime lead before cruising to the six-goal victory. Continue reading Denver exacts dominant revenge on Villanova, Pioneers advance to BIG EAST Title Game
Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics
DU added yet another National Coach of the Year winner this past week. Head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart was rewarded for her work with DU Gymnastics. Kutcher-Rinehart joins eight other Denver coaches who have won the award in their respective sports of hockey, swimming and diving, nordic and alpine skiing, soccer, and lacrosse.
Continue reading DU’s Secret Sauce: Coaching Depth