FARGO — The Summit League will remain at 10 members. For now.
The Presidents Council at its annual May meeting “opted not to invite any additional members at this time,” Summit commissioner Tom Douple said in a statement to the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader newspaper.
What it means is Augustana University of Sioux Falls, S.D., which has already announced intentions to move to Division I, will not get the Summit invite it perhaps was hoping for and will remain in Division II and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
The Summit is in the midst of change this year with Purdue-Fort Wayne leaving for the Horizon League and Missouri-Kansas City coming back into the league for the 2020-21 school year. Moreover, the Summit has already approved membership for the University of St. Thomas contingent on the Tommies getting NCAA approval to move from NCAA Division III to Division I within a standard four-year reclassification period.
The NCAA Division I Council is expected to address the St. Thomas issue this summer. The matter was tabled this spring, most likely because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We will continue to stay focused and strategic as we look toward the future of the league,” Douple said.
If St. Thomas does get approved, which is expected, it will join the league in 2021-22. That will put the Summit at 10 members, which is optimal for basketball and volleyball scheduling.
With the departure of Fort Wayne, the Summit further becomes a Midwest footprint with North Dakota State, North Dakota, South Dakota State, South Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, the University of Denver, Western Illinois and Oral Roberts.
St. Thomas is located in St. Paul, Minn. The ironic nature of Augustana not getting an invite is it is based in Sioux Falls, where the Summit league office is located.