After extensive membership discussions, the University of St. Thomas will be involuntarily removed from membership in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the conference announced in a statement Wednesday.
The MIAC Presidents’ Council cites athletic competitive parity in the conference as a primary concern.
St. Thomas will begin a multi-year transition immediately and meanwhile is eligible to compete as a full member of the MIAC through the end of spring 2021.
St. Thomas is one of seven founding members of the MIAC and “will leave the conference in good standing with a long and appreciated history of academic and athletic success,” notes the release.
Also Wednesday, St. Thomas president Julie Sullivan released a statement.
Dear St. Thomas Community,
Today is a difficult day for our community. The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced that St. Thomas will be involuntarily removed from membership in the MIAC effective at the end of spring 2021.
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.
St. Thomas expended tremendous effort to remain in the MIAC and stabilize the conference. However, the presidents came to a consensus that the conference itself would cease to exist in its current form if St. Thomas remained. The primary concern cited by the other MIAC presidents is the lack of competitive parity within the conference, across many sports. They stated that St. Thomas has not violated any MIAC or NCAA rules and leaves the conference in good standing.
While this decision is extremely disappointing, we will continue to prioritize the welfare and overall experience of our student-athletes. They embrace and represent both academic and athletic excellence and are important contributors to our university’s culture. Additionally, our coaches share the values of advancing comprehensive excellence and are among the best in the country.
Although our athletic conference will change, one thing will not: our commitment to continued academic and athletic excellence. I am confident in our campus leadership who will guide us forward and optimistic that we will continue to celebrate great success.
Led by our Vice President and Director of Athletics, Phil Esten, and involving members of our community, we will immediately begin a deliberative process to explore other options. 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. For answers to more questions about this transition, please click here.
I am proud of our success in athletics and of our student-athletes, who excel in the classroom as well as in competition. We have a strong and proud athletic history at St. Thomas – and I am certain we also have a bright future!