MIAC boots St. Thomas out of conference

Jake Loberg, Sports Editor

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When the rumors started to circulate that the presidents of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference were considering removing the University of St. Thomas from the league, many thought it was just an exercise in thought. Sure, they were and at this point still are the dominant force in the league, but the consensus was that they do more good for the conference than bad. However, with the recent decision to boot St. Thomas from the league, many are questioning what the motives were for this stark ruling.

The MIAC is made up of 13 schools scattered all throughout Minnesota: Concordia College, Augsburg University, Bethel University, Carleton College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Hamline University, Macalester College (non-football member), College of St. Benedict, St. Catherine University, St. John’s University, St. Mary’s University, St. Olaf College, and the University of St. Thomas. All of the schools are relatively small, with most enrollments hovering around 3,000. St. Thomas is the exception, with an enrollment of around 6,000 students.

The reason cited for removing the Tommies was “competitive parity”, or in other words, they were just too good. They are in contention for a league championship in practically every sport year after year, with the MIAC determining it just wasn’t fair for the other schools.

But citing “competitive parity” as the reason for removing a team from a league they helped found over 100 years ago just isn’t enough. It made the decision look more personal than objective, and has no doubt hurt the league in terms of the bad PR they’ve received and will continue to receive. If it really was necessary to get rid of them, maybe cite their huge enrollment that dwarfs the other schools, or their athletic budget that is far larger as well.

The MIAC presidents failed to get out in front of the story and control the narrative, and are getting bashed for it as a result. They cited “competitive parity” as the reason for their decision, a reason that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when thought about in the context of Division III sports. It will be interesting to see what happens in these next couple of years, as St. Thomas isn’t slated to officially be forced to leave until 2021. In the meantime, it can be expected with reasonable confidence that they’ll do everything they can to show just how competitively un-parative the league really is.