St. Thomas University, Minnesota


St. Thomas University, Minnesota

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LurkingDog
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During the 2017 season, St. Thomas broke an unwritten football rule, beating St. Olaf 97-0.  That got the reaction one might expect from clubbing baby seals.  The consequence? Getting kicked out of its D-III conference yesterday for reasons of "athletic competitive parity."  And that's too bad...their annual Minneapolis football game against St. John's has regularly drawn big crowds (over 37,000 for the 2017 game).  Maybe the Johnnies-Tommies rivalry can be salvaged.

There is talk of St. Thomas--a Drake peer school with 6,100 undergraduate students--moving up to D-I.  NCAA rules, however, would require going to D-II first.  Pretty sure that a stop at the D-II level by itself would take at least five years.  But rules are made to be waived on occasion.  I'm wondering whether St. Thomas will try to find an expedited path to D-I and Pioneer football.

Speaking of the PFL, I still expect Augustana U to become a member someday.  With Augie moving up, there might be a D-II home for St. Thomas, however temporary, in the NSIC. 

Obviously, finding D-I all-sports conferences for one or both of them would be another issue.





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They may be looking for games, beginning with the 2021 season.  If Drake ever schedules a D-III team again, St. Thomas would be my choice.



LDog2013
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LurkingDog - 5/23/2019
During the 2017 season, St. Thomas broke an unwritten football rule, beating St. Olaf 97-0.  That got the reaction one might expect from clubbing baby seals.  The consequence? Getting kicked out of its D-III conference yesterday for reasons of "athletic competitive parity."  And that's too bad...their annual Minneapolis football game against St. John's has regularly drawn big crowds (over 37,000 for the 2017 game).  Maybe the Johnnies-Tommies rivalry can be salvaged.

There is talk of St. Thomas--a Drake peer school with 6,100 undergraduate students--moving up to D-I.  NCAA rules, however, would require going to D-II first.  Pretty sure that a stop at the D-II level by itself would take at least five years.  But rules are made to be waived on occasion.  I'm wondering whether St. Thomas will try to find an expedited path to D-I and Pioneer football.

Speaking of the PFL, I still expect Augustana U to become a member someday.  With Augie moving up, there might be a D-II home for St. Thomas, however temporary, in the NSIC. 

Obviously, finding D-I all-sports conferences for one or both of them would be another issue.

I've always thought the same, which other minnesota school could-would be interested in making the jump to D1. The talk of wanting Murray St means the MVC would need another private school to add. Pretty sure the Summit would be interested too.


LurkingDog
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LDog2013 - 5/23/2019
... which other minnesota school could-would be interested in making the jump to D1. 


If there is one--and I doubt it--it would probably be St. John's. 

St. John's gets a new president this year. Maybe if the Tommies made a move, St. John's would follow.  Getting pretty far out there with our speculation.



LurkingDog
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The MVFC expands to 11 members in 2020, with the addition of North Dakota.  They are running out of room for additions.

As for the Valley's other football conference, the Pioneer doesn't do round-robin scheduling, so expansion is not as limited.  Potential additions line up as follows.

--Presbyterian: joining in 2021.

--Augustana University:  Details on their plans to go D-I should be announced soon.  More likely football joins the PFL (3-5 years from now) than the MVFC.

--Wisconsin-Green Bay:  Only "whispers" of joining the PFL for now.  New AD may have consultant study done within next two years.  Even if they get serious about football, it's hard to see how they could put a team on the field before 2025.

--St. Thomas:  Will attempt to find a new D-III conference home over the next two school years.  If they fail, they might choose a long journey to D-I (including some time in D-II).  Total time to D-I would likely be at least 14 years.  In the unlikely event St Thomas leaves their current conference before getting evicted in 2021, the Tommies might be able to get to D-I in 12 years.  I'll believe it when I see it.

--St. John's:  Less than zero chance of them leaving D-III in the foreseeable future.  No reason for the Johnnies to do anything unless St. Thomas makes a move.






Lime
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A little birdie says St. Thomas, ousted by the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association, could end up in the Division I Pioneer League for football and the Division I Summit League for its other sports. The university recently hired two assistant athletics directors.


https://www.twincities.com/2019/07/27/charley-walters-higher-payroll-with-more-wins-is-part-of-the-deal-for-twins-pohlad/

LurkingDog
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Lime - 8/8/2019
A little birdie says St. Thomas, ousted by the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association, could end up in the Division I Pioneer League for football and the Division I Summit League for its other sports. The university recently hired two assistant athletics directors.


https://www.twincities.com/2019/07/27/charley-walters-higher-payroll-with-more-wins-is-part-of-the-deal-for-twins-pohlad/

A proposal to allow reclassification directly from D-III to D-I is being examined by an NCAA committee.  Meanwhile, St. Thomas' D-III conference is letting them stay up to two more years. 



Lime
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St. Thomas to the Summit if they can get the D3 to D1 waiver approved

https://www.stthomas.edu/athletics/athletics-conference-update/index.html

https://www.stthomas.edu/athletics/oct-4-2019-announcement/index.html

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This would technically give the Summit 6 football schools, could be a pathway toward a future league if those schools wanted to peel off from the MVFC.
LurkingDog
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Did the Summit membership just give the middle finger to Augustana?  Some of them haven't seemed happy with T. Denny Sanford's money pushing a tiny private school into the Summit...especially given Augie's location in Sioux Falls, which is where the Summit has its men's basketball tournament.  Not sure the Summit takes anyone else if St. Thomas joins.  Maybe more light will be shed on this during the Summit's meeting next month.



LurkingDog
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On second thought, adding Augustana and St. Thomas would give the Summit 10 members.  That's because they will lose Ft. Wayne after this year.  Ten is a good number for them.

If Augustana drops football scholarships and joins the PFL with St. Thomas and Presby, the league would have 13 teams in 2021.  That's a lot.

Alternatively, Augie could increase scholarships and (in theory) get an invitation to the MVFC.  Or if you really want to advance a crazy theory, Augustana could give the Summit enough teams to qualify for an automatic NCAA playoff bid in FCS football.  Not sure the Dakota schools and Western Illinois want to break off from the MVFC...just sayin'



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LurkingDog - 10/4/2019
On second thought, adding Augustana and St. Thomas would give the Summit 10 members.  That's because they will lose Ft. Wayne after this year.  Ten is a good number for them.



I forgot about UMKC's plan to join the Summit.  However, Augie is still talking to the Summit.  Hopefully, they are more than the Summit's backup plan.



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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/27/sports/ncaafootball/st-thomas-division-i.html
LurkingDog
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Given the difference in population between the Des Moines and Twin Cities areas,  is that 19,500 (or even the 35k they drew at the Twins' stadium) a bigger deal than 7k for Drake v. Grand View?






LurkingDog
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LurkingDog - 8/14/2019

A proposal to allow reclassification directly from D-III to D-I is being examined by an NCAA committee.  

If the rule is changed, who might be looking for a D-I conference invitation?

North Central, which just won the Stagg Bowl, has a ranked mbb team. Their enrollmemt is slightly less than Drake's, but bigger than Evansville's.  



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St. Thomas' move to Division I looking 'very optimistic' after key NCAA meeting
Signs point to the NCAA allowing St. Thomas to skip the lengthy D-II step.



By Rachel Blount Star Tribune JANUARY 25, 2020 — 12:00AM    LINK


Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple said Friday that “very positive progress” was made at the NCAA convention regarding St. Thomas’s bid to reclassify to NCAA Division I, setting the stage for a final resolution in April.

The NCAA’s Strategic Vision and Planning Committee discussed the matter in a Tuesday meeting. Though Douple will not receive an official briefing until next week, he said the information he has at this point makes him “very optimistic” that the NCAA will create a way for St. Thomas to move directly from Division III to Division I. Current NCAA rules require D-III schools to move up to D-II first and spend five years there as a full member before taking the next step.

Rather than granting an exception for St. Thomas, the NCAA is considering a process that would allow any qualified school to make the jump from D-III to D-I. Any rule change must be approved by the NCAA’s Division I Council, which meets April 23-24.

St. Thomas’ membership in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will end in 2020-21, after a vote last May to kick the St. Paul school out of a league it helped form 100 years ago. The Tommies have been invited to join the Summit League and could begin play in 2021-22 if the reclassification rule is changed soon.

“We always thought it was going to come down to that April meeting, and that’s where we’re headed,” Douple said. “The good news is, it looks like we’ll have a resolution in April and figure it all out. … I’ll say I’m very optimistic.

“The committee met and had very good discussion on the reclassification. I think we made some very positive progress toward our April meeting.”

St. Thomas athletic director Phil Esten, who was attending meetings Friday at the convention in Anaheim, Calif., said “that is my understanding as well” when asked for comment on Douple’s assessment.

Douple has been working with both St. Thomas and the NCAA as the organization explores the idea of creating a direct path from D-III to D-I. Within the next couple of weeks, he expects to get more information on what the next steps will be.

Douple anticipates that NCAA staff will work with Division I Council members to develop a formal proposal, which would be voted on by the council in April. He said the Strategic Vision and Planning Committee studied the issue in depth at last week’s meeting, “looking at different angles and perspectives” of a potential D-III to D-I pathway.

In the coming weeks, Douple said he will continue working with St. Thomas, NCAA staff and the Division I Council “to make sure we’re doing all our due diligence.” He has said repeatedly that the process would be slow and deliberate, but he also believes the NCAA does not want to leave St. Thomas waiting any longer than necessary.

“The coaches, they’re trying to recruit and schedule, and the unknown is just a killer right now for them,” Douple said. “We need, and St. Thomas needs, resolution of some type because of their timeline and scheduling and so forth.

“We’re working under the gun here, but there are good people at the NCAA and on the council. We’ll figure it out somehow.’’



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Supposedly, St.Thomas' basketball team is #4 in the D-III poll.

However, I read on a Russian website (Ї ӉДГԐ DЇЯԐҪҬЇФИДL SҪЊФФLS.com)  that UST and Augustana have already gone D-I, and that the Missouri Valley Conference changed its membership without telling anyone.  Current standings:

#6 Dayton 21-2
#19 Butler 18-6
Bradley 16-9
Drake 16-9
Valparaiso 12-13
Evansville 9-16
Augustana ?
St. Thomas ?


Are we in the CBI yet?





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Reassurance to Tommie fans that this thing is still on the agenda...

Link





LurkingDog
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LurkingDog - 4/1/2020
Reassurance to Tommie fans that this thing is still on the agenda...

Link


Ha, ha.  The NCAA was playing an April Fools' joke.

https://www.tommiemedia.com/news/breaking-news-ncaa-postpones-st-thomas-division-i-decision/




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Not trying to be too off-topic, but for some reason I am very bullish on St. Thomas' prospects for success as a D1 basketball team. The amount of talent (and elite talent at that) in the Twin Cities is tremendous. The Gophers obviously have not been able to keep kids at home, but what if the Tommies could? Or at the very least keep the kids that do not quite get the B10 offers to stay at home? I'm not saying they would be a good addition to the Valley right this minute, but I would not be surprised if the Big East isn't knocking on their door in a decade.

The MVC could look at them as an investment. Just thinking out loud, and the thought is very intriguing to me compared to a Belmont addition. Would also allow for a potential Murray State addition while maintaining public/private balance in the (basketball) Valley.
GO


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