College Sports May 24, 2019 12:20:42 GMT
Post by Kapitan on May 24, 2019 12:20:42 GMT
I have a specific story to share, but it doesn't really warrant a thread or fit into any of the existing ones. So I thought this could just be a catch-all college sports thread (likely to be pretty quiet til fall, I assume). But for now, my story of the day.
Minnesota has a collegiate conference for Division III schools called the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) comprising generally small, private, somewhat prestigious schools. The MIAC is probably best known for being the conference in which legendary coach John Gagliardi (who passed past year at age 91) notched the most wins in college football history with a 489-138-11 record and 27 conference titles in his 50+ years coaching. He was also an innovator, prohibiting tackling in practice, not using a whistle or blocking sleds, and minimizing practice length to 90 minutes.
But this isn't about him. This is about what the MIAC may now be best known for, which is secretly (until the story began leaking a couple weeks ago) conspiring to kick out its largest and most recently successful school, St. Thomas. St. Thomas has been a football powerhouse, winning two national titles and MIAC titles since 2010, including a 97-0 win over conference rival St. Olaf a couple years ago. St. Thomas also dominated other sports and, at 6,000+ students, dwarfs other conference schools which typically range from 1,500 to 3,000 students.
It became official this week: the conference voted that St. Thomas would be "involuntarily removed" from the MIAC. And it's pretty big news, not just around here but with national outlets like ESPN picking up the story.
The big question around here now is, will St. Thomas join some other DIII conference? (The best fit is ironically the WIAC, with the W standing for ... well, you can guess what. That ought to give cheese-heads something to rant about.) Or can/should they move up to DII?
Some people--including myself--think that if they are going to undergo the work and cost of going DII, they may as well try to go all the way to DI. It would be a 12-year process, but St. Thomas is an urban campus (primarily in St. Paul with a smaller campus in Minneapolis), and wealthy institution with successful alumni and donors. They could do it. And it would be a very interesting situation, as Minnesota only has ONE Division I school! (For comparison, South Dakota will have three as soon as DII Augustana finishes its transition; Wisconsin and Iowa, I believe, each have five.)
They would definitely be a credible mid-major basketball program in short order, as Minnesota has been splitting its non-elite but D1 talent between the four D1 Dakota schools and other regional mid-majors. If St. Thomas could get the pick of the litter among non-elite talent, the guys who aren't Big Ten caliber, they could really have something. Their football tradition is pretty spectacular and they could presumably be a decent 1AA team in the Missouri Valley, maybe.
Anyway, it's quite a drama up here, a founding conference member getting kicked out for being too good.