Rochester Institute of Technology will announce on Tuesday that it is moving its women’s hockey program to Division I beginning next season.
The Tigers, who won the Division III national title on Saturday, have reportedly been accepted into the College Hockey America conference and will begin league play in 2013-14.
Sources tell USCHO.com that RIT will play an independent schedule next season before joining the CHA as it completes its two-year probationary process. The Tigers will play a full CHA schedule in 2013-14, but will be ineligible for post-season play. RIT will then become a full-fledged member in 2014-2015.
This move preserves the CHA’s hopes for an automatic qualifier. With the addition of Penn State and Lindenwood next season, the conference would have had the necessary six teams before today’s announcement that Niagara is immediately dropping its women’s hockey program. RIT will become a full member of the league in 2014-15, meaning that the CHA would be able to seek an autobid for its conference champion in the 2016-17 season, unless a sixth member joins the conference before then.