Summit League says it will remain at 10 members, leaves Augustana on outside for now

North Dakota State's Tyson Ward (left) and Vinnie Shahid celebrate after defeating North Dakota on March 10 for Summit League men's basketball tournament championshp in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Summit League said it will keep the tourney format the same this upcoming season. Richard Carlson / Inertia

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.

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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