Summit League extends invitation to St. Thomas

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The University of St. Thomas, soon to be kicked out of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for competitive reasons, has received an invitation to join the Summit League with the goal of taking its sports teams from Division III to Division I.

University President Julie Sullivan announced Friday that the school has submitted a waiver request to the NCAA for a reclassification process that would allow it to bypass Division II and thus accelerate the move. If that's granted, St. Thomas would become the 10th member of the Summit League in the fall of 2021. The Tommies would have to find a different conference for their football and men's and women's hockey teams.

In May, the MIAC announced it had decided to oust St. Thomas, the largest school in the league, one of the founding members in 1920 and the most successful in recent years in sports. Conference presidents cited athletic parity as their primary concern; the Tommies have won 12 consecutive MIAC all-sports trophies.

Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple said Friday the conference president's council "unanimously and enthusiastically" voted to approve the application by St. Thomas.

Current members of the Summit League are Denver, Fort Wayne, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Omaha, Oral Roberts, South Dakota, South Dakota State, and Western Illinois.

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10/4/2019 2:35:41 PM (GMT -5:00)