MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of St. Thomas announced Wednesday the school’s move from Division III to Division I college athletics.

St. Thomas is calling this a “historic decision” in becoming the first program in NCAA history to reclassify from D-III to D-I. Also, becoming Minnesota’s first private D-I collegiate athletics program.

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In a meeting Wednesday, the NCAA’s Division I Council approved a motion granting St. Thomas the ability to make the move to D-I. With this decision, the Tommies will now join The Summit League athletics league, the Pioneer Football League and Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Women’s League.

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“Our St. Thomas community is excited to embark on this journey of building Minnesota’s first private D-I collegiate athletics program and the second D-I program in the state,” said Julie Sullivan, president, University of St. Thomas. “St. Thomas has a long history of academic and athletic excellence and embracing change with an entrepreneurial spirit. This move continues that trajectory.”

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Following their final year in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), the Tommies will begin competing in their new conferences in the 2021-22 academic year. A conference decision is pending for men’s hockey.