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.

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.

“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.”

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.

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