MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you can’t beat ’em, send ’em packing?
The University of St. Thomas will be “involuntarily” removed from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The decision was voted on by the 13 other school presidents. On Wednesday, the MIAC Presidents’ Council says “athletic competitive parity” was the primary concern involved in the decision.
In the past 15 years St. Thomas won 47% of all MIAC championships in both team and individual sports.
“I think the majority of the Conference is tired of St. Thomas big footing them in a lot of sports and football is the lightning rod,” sportscaster Eric Nelson, who has called St. Thomas football games for 15 years, said.
Nelson said the irony is that this past season, two MIAC teams — Bethel and St. Johns — beat St. Thomas.
The transition will begin immediately. St. Thomas will be eligible to compete as a full member of MIAC through the end of spring 2021. School officials say they’re not sure where they’ll end up.
“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,” the MIAC said.
St. Thomas President Dr. Julie Sullivan released a statement, calling the decision “extremely disappointing” but are beginning a “deliberative process to explore other options.”
“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,” Sullivan said.
It’s not clear whether the legendary Tommies-Johnnies rivalry will continue in the future.
“If there is an opportunity to continue the rivalry, we will do that, we would like to see that continue,” St. Thomas athletic director Phil Esten said. “All options are on the table for us right now.”
Read the full statement below: