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Augustana to the Summit?


91jack
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Interesting interview with Tom Douple during the halftime show of our ladies' game on ESPN.  Douple was asked about the St. Thomas vs. Augustana choice for the Summit invite.  Without hesitation and somewhat cocky he basically said there was no choice between the two.  He mentioned the 10,000 plus students/110,000 plus alumni of St. Thomas, the fact that their endowment is north of $500mm, that they sit in the middle of a major metropolitan area, that there are at least 70 high schools to recruit within a short drive and then went on to basically state that Augustana is far from being a done deal if ever, and that the Summit was also looking at other institutions.  It was further made clear that Augustana applied to the Summit, and the Summit did not extend an invitation to Augustana.  In other words, he was non-committal at best toward Augustana and more like cold toward them.  As was stated previously elsewhere in this thread, I think at least SDSU and possibly others want no part of Augustana in the Summit.

One other interesting tidbit from the interview was the fact that the contract for the Summit Tourney with Sioux Falls for the Tourney to be played there ends in a couple of years.  When questioned about renewing the contract or extending it, he simply stated that all options including other cities/venues will be looked at.  He did not commit to an automatic extension.  

Of course all of the above could just be Mr. Douple blowing the proverbial smoke.  Only time will tell.

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  • 1 month later...

The St. Thomas situation has been delayed a bit due to COVID-19. The NCAA DI Council was supposed to discuss and vote on it during their April 23-24 meeting, but they have decided to push most non-COVID business off to later meetings in order to focus the April meeting on the pandemic and its effects. Now the earliest they will talk about St. Thomas will be the June meeting, and even that might not happen depending on whether that meeting will also be pandemic-dominated.

https://www.startribune.com/st-thomas-won-t-learn-d-i-fate-until-june-at-the-earliest/569547302/

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  • 1 month later...

Augie had their 'virtual tour' by university presidents this past weekend. The decision is expected within several weeks. Commissioner Douple also expects some Summit Schools to drop sports and others to add. ORU baseball could be at risk if any of the northern tier schools drop the sport due to cost. Interesting times. 
https://letsgodu.com/2020/05/26/exam...on/#more-75037

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If baseball becomes an issue in the Summit, hopefully the Mo Valley would let our baseball in as an associate member for baseball only.  I know that Dallas Baptist does that for their baseball team.  

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10 minutes ago, timt89 said:

Augie had their 'virtual tour' by university presidents this past weekend. The decision is expected within several weeks. Commissioner Douple also expects some Summit Schools to drop sports and others to add. ORU baseball could be at risk if any of the northern tier schools drop the sport due to cost. Interesting times. 
https://letsgodu.com/2020/05/26/exam...on/#more-75037

Mike Carter on Summit League expansion, St Thomas delayed NCAA vote, and his interview w/fellow summit league administrators of the Augustana President and administrators.....starts at 56 minutes

 

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The Dakota schools (especially SDSU and SD) are definitely not in favor of adding Augustana to the Summit League. It would result in more competition for fans and sponsorship dollars.

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On 5/26/2020 at 11:53 AM, ORU82 said:

If baseball becomes an issue in the Summit, hopefully the Mo Valley would let our baseball in as an associate member for baseball only.  I know that Dallas Baptist does that for their baseball team.  

If that happens, ORU will likely never/rarely see the NCAA tourney in baseball, ever again. 

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It looks like the first attempt for Augie to join the Summit was voted down.  

The Argus Leader (Sioux Falls paper) has a title of "Summit League opts not to invite Augustana as new member".  It looks like they are still planning on going DI so we will see how things go from here.

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  • 3 weeks later...

For all intents and purposes, St. Thomas is in. The NCAA is going to draft a new policy to allow DIII schools to transition directly to DI. That policy will be written up in the next few months, distributed to the DI schools after that, then voted on next April. However, the same NCAA group "indicated it would be receptive to a formal waiver request from Division III St. Thomas (Minnesota) and the Summit League that would allow the school to begin the reclassification process." IOW, St. Thomas will be allowed to transition to DIII using the current DII to DI framework, but any other DIII schools will have to wait for the new policy to be approved.

https://www.twincities.com/2020/06/17/st-thomas-awaits-ncaa-decision-today-on-potential-jump-to-division-i/

https://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/division-i-council-proposes-pathway-diii-schools-become-di-members

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  • 2 weeks later...

So the Mastodons have moved on but the Kangaroos are back.  It seems that we have lost 1 baseball team without picking up a replacement baseball team.  

The Summit League now only has 5 teams with baseball: ORU, Western Illinois, SDSU, NDSU, and Omaha.  I know there is at least a 2-year grace period before a league would lose their automatic bid, and it looks likely that St. Thomas will be added for the 2021-2022 academic year (1 year from now).  St. Thomas has baseball, so I think that concern will be resolved as long as St. Thomas is added.  St. Thomas athletics are known as the "Tommies."  Their history goes back to 1885 and it was originally founded as a catholic seminary.  The university was named after St. Thomas Aquinas.  It is the largest private university in Minnesota with an enrollment of almost 10,000 students.  It is located in St. Paul, with a small satellite campus in Minneapolis.  

https://tommiesports.com/general/2019-20/releases/20200617u216oc 

For this season though, I think there will only be 5 teams competing in baseball (unless a non-league member is participating and I forgot about it).  I would guess that the Summit League might stand pat at 10 teams once St. Thomas is added next year, depending on if they expect any other defections.  I wonder though if they would consider any other non-league D-1 baseball participants.  I think we discussed once before adding Dallas Baptist as a baseball-only member, but for now I do not think that move is necessary.

It is really nice to add back the KC market, and down the road it will be nice to add the Minneapolis/St. Paul market as well.

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  • 4 months later...

Back to Augustana news. Their DI hopes are pretty much dead at this point. Their biggest $$ supporter was considered to be an alumnus named Kelly Krabbenhoft. While he had reasonable money himself, he was also the CEO of Sanford Health and had a large say on where their money went in regards to athletic sponsorships. 

But two things have changed recently. First, Sanford Health has agreed to merge with Intermountain Healthcare based out of Salt Lake City. The two systems are comparable in size, but it looks like Intermountain is going to be the dominant partner. Both systems will keep their names, but the Intermountain CEO will be running the combined organization and KK was set to retire shortly after the merger.

Well, that retirement plan all changed after an ill-advised email where KK said he wasn't wearing a mask because he had already had COVID. Not a good look for the head of a large healthcare system that's in the midst of the country's largest outbreak. After a couple days of taking heat, KK announced his retirement effective immediately.

So there goes Augie's biggest cheerleader from his position holding a big money bag.

 

Regarding the Sanford/Intermountain merger, it will be interesting to see if it affects the Summit League. The combined HQ will be in Salt Lake City, but the corporate offices will be in Sioux Falls.

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