Four months after being voted out of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), the University of St. Thomas has received a formal invitation to join a Division I athletics conference.
UST officials made the announcement Friday, saying it has been invited to join the Summit League, which includes regional schools North Dakota, North Dakota State, South Dakota and South Dakota State, among others.
But joining the Summit League will require an exemption, as schools aren't typically allowed to jump from Division III to Division I. More on the process from UST:
"Our membership in the Summit League will require an approval from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). We have submitted a request for a waiver to the NCAA from their current rules which state that Division III schools can only reclassify to Division II. Our waiver seeks an exception to this rule and requests permission to enter the NCAA Division I reclassification process directly from Division III."
"If the NCAA ultimately grants the waiver request, St. Thomas will begin competing in the Summit League in fall 2021, after two full final years in the MIAC," UST President Julie H. Sullivan said in a release.
The Tommies were booted from the MIAC, with a majority of school presidents arguing that UST created a competitive disadvantage to other member schools.
The Summit League is currently comprised of nine schools:Denver, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Omaha, Oral Roberts, Purdue Fort Wayne, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Western Illinois.
The conference's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.
The obvious omissions are football and hockey, so it's still unclear what UST will do after the final two years in the MIAC.