Concerned about sports parity, MIAC removes University of St. Thomas

| May 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Concerned about its relative success in football and other sports, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced May 22 that the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul will be involuntarily removed from the conference at the end of spring 2021. 

“Today is a difficult day for our community,” Julie Sullivan, president of the university, said in a statement. “As a founding member of the MIAC, St. Thomas has had a long history with these competitors, and we believe our strong presence and success in the conference has made it a better and more competitive one. This history holds importance to our entire community, including our students, coaches and alumni.”

Officials at St. Thomas worked hard to remain in and stabilize the conference it helped found in 1920, Sullivan said. But citing athletic competitive parity as a primary concern, the MIAC Presidents’ Council made its decision, she said.

St. Thomas will begin a multi-year transition immediately, the conference said, and remain eligible to compete as a full member of the conference through the end of spring 2021.

Sullivan said the university will continue to prioritize the experience of its student-athletes and coaches. 

“Although our athletic conference will change, one thing will not: our commitment to continued academic and athletic excellence.”

Led by Phil Esten, vice president and director of athletics, and involving members of the community, the university will begin exploring other alternatives to the MIAC, Sullivan said. 

“The strength of our athletic programs, our institutional commitment to excellence and our location in the metro area will make us an attractive candidate to other conferences,” she said.

“We have a strong and proud athletic history at St. Thomas — and I am certain we also have a bright future!” Sullivan said.

Other members of the conference are Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Bethel University in St. Paul, Carleton College in Northfield, Concordia College in Moorhead, Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Hamline University in St. Paul, Macalester College in St. Paul, the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, St. Catherine University in St. Paul, St. John’s University in Collegeville, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona and St. Olaf College in Northfield.

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