This is part of an ongoing series covering various college realignment news for all three NCAA Divisions as well as the NAIA. The roundup below will cover news and reports since April 30, 2023 and provide updates on a few previously discussed topics. As a reminder, all official moves starting with the 2023-24 academic year and beyond can be found on our realignment list.
We’ll break out the reports for each Division in the following order: Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, and NAIA. Clicking the links will bring you to that specific section. If a division is not highlighted, there has been no news in the preceding month. We’ve also summarized the news items in a table below if you are more interested in a specific news item.
|School(s)||News Item||Realignment Change / Effective Year||Current Conference||New Conference|
|ACC||ACC Teams Want Out||No||N/A||N/A|
|Arkansas State||Joining C-USA in Women’s Bowling||Yes – 2023-24||SBL (D1)||C-USA (D1)|
|Bethany College||Adding Acrobatics & Tumbling||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||PAC (D3)|
|Big Ten||Considering Scheduling Change||No||N/A||N/A|
|Bloomfield College||Keeping Sports Separate from Montclair State||No||CACC (D2)||CACC (D2)|
|Buffalo State||Dropping Swimming and Diving Programs||Yes – 2023-24||SUNYAC (D3)||N/A|
|C-USA||Adding Bowling||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||N/A|
|Concordia (TX)||Joining SCAC||Yes – 2024-25||ASC (D3)||SCAC (D3)|
|Doane||Adding Esports||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||GPAC (NAIA)|
|Erskine||Dropping Women’s Lacrosse||Yes – 2023-24||Conference Carolinas (D2)||N/A|
|Geneva College||Adding Women’s Lacrosse||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||PAC (D3)|
|Georgia Gwinnett||Possible NCAA Move?||No||N/A||N/A|
|Hood College||Women’s Ice Hockey Moving to UCHC||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||UCHC (D3)|
|Le Moyne||Changing Conferences||Yes – 2023-24||NE-10 (D2)||NEC (D1)|
|Louisiana Tech||Joining C-USA in Women’s Bowling||Yes – 2023-24||SBL (D1)||C-USA (D1)|
|Medaille||School Closing||Yes – 2023-24||Empire 8 (D3)||None|
|Missouri State||Will move to FBS eventually||No||N/A||N/A|
|Montclair State||Keeping Sports Separate from Bloomfield||No||NJAC (D3)||NJAC (D3)|
|NEC||NEC Adding Men’s Lacrosse||Yes – 2024-25||N/A|
|New College of Florida||Seeking NAIA Membership||No||N/A||N/A|
|New Haven||Still Considering D1||No||N/A||N/A|
|Newberry||Adding Two Sports||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||Conference Carolinas (D2)|
|Newman||Adding Esports Program||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||MIAA (D3)|
|Post University||Football Joining NE-10||Yes – 2024-25||Independent (D2)||NE-10 (D2)|
|Sam Houston State||Joining C-USA in Women’s Bowling||Yes – 2023-24||SBL (D1)||C-USA (D1)|
|San Diego Christian||Dropping All Athletics||Yes – 2023-24||GSAC (NAIA)||N/A|
|Stephen F. Austin||Joining C-USA in Women’s Bowling||Yes – 2023-24||SBL (D1)||C-USA (D1)|
|SUNY Canton||Changing Men’s Hockey Conferences||Yes – 2024-25||Independent (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|SUNYAC (Taking over NEWHL)||Adding Women’s Ice Hockey||Yes – 2023-24||NEWHL (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|Tulane||Joining C-USA in Women’s Bowling||Yes – 2023-24||SBL (D1)||C-USA (D1)|
|University of the Ozarks||Joining SCAC||Yes – 2024-25||ASC (D3)||SCAC (D3)|
|Upper Iowa||Additional Context on Dropping Sports||No||N/A||N/A|
|Valdosta State and West Florida||Rumored as potential D1 teams||No||N/A||N/A|
|Valparaiso||Joining C-USA in Women’s Bowling||Yes – 2023-24||SBL (D1)||C-USA (D1)|
|Vanderbilt||Joining C-USA in Women’s Bowling||Yes – 2023-24||SBL (D1)||C-USA (D1)|
|Wartburg||Dropping Women’s Lacrosse||Yes – 2023-24||MWLC (D3)||N/A|
|Wentworth||Adding Track and Field Program||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||CCC (D3)|
|Western Connecticut State||School Not Closing||No||N/A||N/A|
|Western Illinois||Joining OVC||Yes – 2023-24||Summit / MVFC (D1)||OVC (D1)|
|William Carey||Adding Swimming and Cheer||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||SSAC (NAIA)|
|Wisconsin-Oshkosh||Adding Women’s Wrestling||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||WIAC (D3)|
|Youngstown State||Joining C-USA in Women’s Bowling||Yes – 2023-24||SBL (D1)||C-USA (D1)|
Le Moyne Makes Jump to Division 1
The rumors can now end for Le Moyne College (DeWitt, New York) as the school officially announced a move to Division 1 and the Northeast Conference. Le Moyne will begin the transition process to Division 1 in the fall of 2023, will be eligible for NEC Championships beginning in 2025-26, and eligible for NCAA Championships beginning in 2027-28. Le Moyne’s men’s lacrosse program will need to find a new conference as the NEC does not sponsor the sport but only for one season. Furthermore, Le Moyne is considering adding numerous sports as they move to D1 but football is not expected to be one of them.
We covered the prospect of them moving up to D1 back in October 2022 and had the NEC at the top of our destinations for Le Moyne. That was too much of a stretch although the Dolphins do not sponsor football. Nevertheless, the NEC made a lot of sense, especially since Le Moyne’s current conference – the Northeast-10 Conference – has been a pipeline into the NEC. That leads us to our next bit of realignment news…
New Haven Still Interested in Division 1 Move
According to a recent article by the New Haven Register, the University of New Haven (West Haven, Connecticut) continues exploring the idea of leaving the NCAA Division 2 Northeast-10 Conference and moving up to Division 1. This is nothing new as New Haven has been linked to a move to D1 for several years. One of the issues facing New Haven in the move-up was the facilities, which are currently being upgraded to a more suitable level.
New Haven administrators have not been coy regarding the school’s D1 ambitions and reportedly turned down several offers already. Based on history, it seems like New Haven will end up in the Northeast Conference, which has repeatedly gone to the NE-10 well to backfill members (Le Moyne, Long Island for football, Merrimack, and Stonehill). That’s not to say New Haven may not end up in the America East, MAAC, or different conference but the NEC offers a place for a tailor-made landing spot for a majority of sports including football.
Western Illinois Leaves Summit for OVC
Western Illinois (Macomb, Illinois) is leaving the Summit League to join the Ohio Valley Conference beginning in 2023-24. WIU is also a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference and will play the 2023 season in the MVFC before joining the OVC in football for 2024. The OVC will certainly be happy to have WIU join the conference for football as they will have enough members to maintain an automatic qualifying bid to the FCS Playoffs starting in 2024. The MVFC and Summit won’t be hurt by this move as they already have dominant programs in the Dakotas.
7 ACC Members Unhappy with Grant of Rights
Some members of the ACC are not happy with the current situation and want a way out according to a recent report by Brett McMurphy. Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech are the “Magnificent 7” looking to lawyer up and break the ACC’s Grant of Rights. McMurphy also referenced a report by Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated shedding some light on how the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 view the current and future realignment landscape.
More D2 to D1 Possibilities?
A recent rumor appeared on Twitter stating that current Division 2 schools Valdosta State and West Florida may be interested in moving up to Division 1 to join the United Athletic Conference (formerly the ASUN and WAC). As always with rumors, take this with a grain of salt because a lot goes into a team moving from D2 to D1 and there have been no official reports suggesting these moves are imminent. In addition, we cannot forget that the UAC is attempting to move to the FBS and these schools may not have FBS aspirations so quickly.
Both schools are members of the Gulf South Conference, which would give them a great fit in the ASUN for all other sports besides football. In terms of football, both teams have been successful in the NCAA Division 2 tournament. Valdosta State has won four national championships in 2004, 2007, 2012, and 2018 as a constant presence in the tournament. West Florida’s first football season was in 2016 and the Argonauts quickly ascended to the top of D2 with the 2019 National Championship victory over Minnesota State.
Big Ten Considering Schedule Change
According to Brett McMurphy, the Big Ten may soon drop the requirement that schools play a Power 5 non-conference team each season beginning in 2024. The Big Ten plans to continue with a nine-game conference schedule and the addition of UCLA and USC probably factored into this thinking. If this does occur, it would be great news for Group of 5 teams as it helps the strength of schedule, especially with an expanded playoff. It’s also great news for FCS teams as they can collect a massive paycheck to help their own athletic departments and maybe even steal a win like Appalachian State (sorry Michigan fans). It will be interesting to see how each team in the Big Ten changes its schedule if this change is made as some may continue to schedule Power 5 teams to help playoff chances.
Northeast Conference to Add Men’s Lacrosse in 2024-25
Going back to the Le Moyne news, there was a bit of information provided in the school’s FAQ on the transition to D1. Currently, the NEC does not sponsor men’s lacrosse, which means Le Moyne will have to find a temporary home for 2023-24 and may even play as an independent for one year. However, the FAQ states that the NEC is looking to bring back men’s lacrosse beginning in 2024-25. With the addition of Le Moyne, the NEC will have five men’s lacrosse programs: Le Moyne, Long Island, Merrimack, Sacred Heart, and Wagner. The NEC will have to add a couple of affiliates or convince current full members to add the sport to potentially receive an automatic qualifying bid to the D1 men’s lacrosse championship.
Conference USA Adding Women’s Bowling in 2023-24
Conference USA is adding women’s bowling to its sponsored sports beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. C-USA will have 9 members in bowling comprised of three full members from C-USA (Jacksonville State, Louisiana Tech, and Sam Houston State) and 6 affiliate members (Arkansas State, Stephen F. Austin, Tulane, Valparaiso, Vanderbilt, and Youngstown State). 8 of the 9 members – every school except for Jacksonville State – is leaving the Southland Bowling League. C-USA rolled a strike with the lineup as Vanderbilt and Arkansas State were both in the national championship in 2023 and five of the last nine national champions are now in C-USA for bowling.
Missouri State Will go to FBS… Eventually
The president of Missouri State University went on record to talk about the school’s FBS hopes. Clif Smart says it is only a matter of time before Missouri State joins the FBS. The Bears have been consistently connected to an eventual move during the most recent realignment cycle. Now, there is no doubt the current administration would like to move to the top echelon of Division 1 football but there are a few issues that would need to be resolved or improved. For starters, MSU will have to upgrade its football facilities and the latest cost would be $23 million but the school has not found funding for it yet. Smart also wants to keep the travel regional with limited impact on the student-athletes.
Then there’s the need for an invite from a current FBS conference. The article mentions two possible conferences: C-USA and the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt is currently at 14 teams and unless there is a defection or the conference wants to go to 16 schools, it seems less likely that Missouri State will end up there. Furthermore, C-USA has been quite welcoming to current FCS teams after the recent exodus. We will provide a map of each conference with the 2023-24 membership along with Missouri State for a comparison.
For Conference USA, Missouri State is in green, Kennesaw State is shown in yellow as they are joining in 2024-25, and UTEP is in orange to contrast against the proximity to New Mexico State. Missouri State is also highlighted in green on the Sun Belt Conference map.
Division 2 Erskine Suspends Women's Lacrosse
Erskine College (Due West, South Carolina) has suspended women's lacrosse for the 2023-24 academic year due to low participation numbers. The school hopes to reinstate the program in the future when the program is healthier. After starting the program in 2009, the team has managed only 32 wins in those 15 seasons and the school only made 1 conference tournament in that time (2014). Erskine is a member of the Conference Carolinas and will become the 4th school without women's lacrosse along with Francis Marion University, King University, and UNC Pembroke.
Post University Football Joining Northeast-10 As Affiliate
Post University (Waterbury, Connecticut) has found a home for its football program. The Eagles will join the Northeast-10 Conference as an affiliate beginning with the 2024-25 season after spending 2022 and 2023 as a Division 2 independent. Post was previously a sprint football team but has made the change to a full varsity team. The Eagles are a full member of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference but the CACC doesn't sponsor football. Post
Bloomfield and Montclair State to Keep Sports Separate
Bloomfield College (Bloomfield, New Jersey) and Montclair State University (Montclair, New Jersey) will merge in 2023-24 but the schools are expecting to keep separate athletic programs for at least one year. Montclair State is absorbing Bloomfield College as part of the merger but Montclair State is a member of the Division 3 New Jersey Athletic Conference. Bloomfield is in Division 2, which allows them to offer scholarships and is a member of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. Whether these two campuses continue to have separate athletic teams beyond 2023-24 is not yet known, nor is the NCAA Division they would play in should the two schools also merge the athletic programs.
Newberry and Newman Adding New Sports Programs
Newberry College (Newberry, South Carolina) will be adding two new sports starting in 2024-25. The college will add Acrobatics & Tumbling, which will compete as an associate member of the Conference Carolinas. Newberry will also add women's wrestling making them one of about two dozen NCAA Division 2 schools to offer the sport. Newberry is a full member of the South Atlantic Conference.
Newman University (Wichita, Kansas) is adding Esports to its varsity athletics beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. The school made the decision after three years of researching the growing sport along with adding academic programs in Digital Design and Computer Science. Newman will be a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports and Esports is the 20th varsity program offered by the school. Newman is a full member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
Upper Iowa VP for Athletics Discusses Decision to Cut 7 Sports
In the wake of the decision to cut seven sports, the Upper Iowa University (Fayette, Iowa) vice president for Athletics Rick Hartzell provided additional context on the decision. Men’s and women’s bowling, men’s cross country, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, women’s tennis, and shotgun will not return for the 2023-24 academic year. Hartzell said the programs weren't generating enough revenue for the school to justify the costs and he warns this may become a bigger trend for smaller schools. We believe this will probably be a big issue across the Midwest and Northeast if the demographic trends continue to show more people leaving for the other parts of the US. We've already seen schools close - like Iowa Wesleyan - because there is no way forward given the rising costs of higher education, smaller high school graduating classes, and demographic changes taking place among other contributing factors.
Multiple Division 3 Schools Adding Sports
Bethany College (Bethany, West Virginia) will add acrobatics & tumbling beginning in 2024-25. The program will be the 22nd intercollegiate varsity sport offered by Bethany and the 55th member of the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association. Bethany is a member of the Presidents' Athletic Conference.
Geneva College (Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania) will add women's lacrosse beginning in 2024-25. As a member of the Presidents' Athletic Conference, Geneva is the 11th and final member to add women's lacrosse as a varsity sport.
Wentworth Institute of Technology (Boston, Massachusetts) is adding women's indoor and outdoor track and field programs beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. Wentworth is a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference and will become the 7th school to add women's track and field. The only two schools that do not offer the sport are Curry College and Western New England University.
Wisconsin-Oshkosh announced the addition of women's wrestling to its varsity programs with the inaugural season in the 2024-25 academic year. The Titans are a member of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC). UW-Oshkosh is only the second school in the WIAC to add women's wrestling with Wisconsin-Stevens Point being the first school to sponsor the sport.
Buffalo State and Wartburg Bid Adieu to Sports
Buffalo State (Buffalo, New York) has discontinued the men's and women's swimming and diving programs effective immediately. Buffalo State is a member of the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC)
Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) has discontinued women's lacrosse with immediate effect. The school added women's lacrosse in 2015 but has seen little athletic success during the 9 seasons it's been a varsity sport. Wartburg compiled an overall record of 39-86 and went 23-47 over the 9 seasons while never having a winning record. They made the conference tournament once in 2022. Wartburg is a member of the American Rivers Conference, however, the ARC does not sponsor lacrosse so the Knights played in the Midwest Women's Lacrosse Conference.
Two Schools Joining SCAC
The American Southwest Conference is losing two more members to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. Concordia University Texas (Austin, Texas) and the University of Ozarks (Clarksville, Arkansas) will become full members of the SCAC beginning in 2024-25. The ASC has been hemorrhaging members and will have only six members remaining after all the moves are completed. East Texas Baptist, Hardin-Simmons, Howard Payne, LeTourneau, Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Texas-Dallas will be remaining while only four of those (ETBU, HSU, Howard Payne, and UMHB) sponsor football.
Medaille Closing after Trocaire Merger Falls Apart
The previously reported acquisition of Medaille University by Trocaire College will no longer happen as planned. The two Buffalo, New York area schools were set to become one institution on August 1, 2023. There was no reason provided for the sudden change but the future of Medaille is now sealed as the school will close on August 31, 2023. Medaille is a member of the Empire 8 conference after joining the conference in 2022 but the sudden closure will result in just one year of competition in the Empire 8.
Numerous Hockey Changes in Division 3
There are multiple hockey changes on the horizon for the Division 3 SUNYAC conference. Beginning in 2023-24, the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) will sponsor women's ice hockey. The newly formed SUNYAC is replacing the Northeast Women's Hockey League and keeping the previously set schedule through 2026-27. The second change is that SUNY Canton (Canton, New York) will become an associate member in the SUNYAC for men's hockey beginning in 2024-25. Canton has competed as a D3 independent in men's hockey since 2015-16.
Hood College (Frederick, Maryland) will be adding women's ice hockey in 2024-25 and joining the United Collegiate Hockey Conference. Hood is a full member of the Middle Atlantic Conference's Commonwealth division. The MAC does not sponsor women's ice hockey although six additional schools (Alvernia, Arcadia, King's, Lebanon Valley, Stevenson, and Wilkes) do offer the sport.
Western Connecticut State Not Closing
Western Connecticut State University (Danbury, Connecticut) is not closing according to state legislator Bob Godfrey. However, the school may be facing cuts after the state finalizes the budget. WCSU currently has interim president Paul Beran at the helm, who was specifically hired to fix the school's finance. Beran believes the rumors of a possible closure surfaced after a closed-door meeting.
Western Connecticut State is a full member of the Little East Conference having joined the LEC in 1993. The Wolves are a football-only affiliate of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) having joined in 2013.
New College of Florida Looking to Join NAIA
The New College of Florida (Sarasota, Florida) is planning to apply to the NAIA this summer, according to recent reports from the Tampa Bay Times and Saratoga Herald-Tribune. The college is looking to join the Sun Conference, which is made up of schools from Florida and Georgia. The school is starting an athletic program with six sports - baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, and softball - and is already in the process of hiring coaches for those sports. The push for athletics comes as the college has received $50 million from the state of Florida with $10 million of that amount to be recurring annual support. The school also offers archery, esports, powerlifting, sailing, and swimming.
Doane Adding Esports
Doane University (Crete, Nebraska) is adding Esports to its athletic offerings beginning in 2023-24. The school hopes to have 14 competitive players by the time competition begins along with other team roles involving broadcasting and commentary. Doane is a full member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
Georgia Gwinnett College Looking to Leave NAIA?
After noting in April 2023 that Georgia Gwinnett (Lawrenceville, Georgia) was looking to add basketball programs, it appears there may be bigger plans afoot for the college. A recent Q&A session with school president Jann Joseph shed light that GGC may move to the NCAA in the future. While the details were few in the wide-ranging interview, Joseph let it be known that the school has considered the NCAA and is hoping the launch of the basketball programs can get them on the path to the NCAA. The hope is that after basketball is established, the school can focus on becoming competitive in other sports like volleyball, soccer, or baseball.
It should be noted that the new convocation center won't be completed until late 2024 and basketball should be added either in 2024 or 2025. If the plan is to establish basketball first, it could be another 5 to 10 years before a move to the NCAA. However, given the growth of the college since it was established in 2000 alongside the demographic shift and population growth of the area, a move to the NCAA would make sense.
San Diego Christian College Suspending Athletics
San Diego Christian College (Santee, California) is taking the drastic step of suspending all athletics for the 2023-24 academic year. The school hopes to resume athletics in 2024-25 although whether that happens is tougher to forecast. SDCC is a member of the NAIA's Golden State Athletic Conference, which has members in Arizona and California. The GSAC will have four members leave across 2023 and 2024 (Jessup, Menlo, Vanguard, and Westmont) while another four (Benedictine-Mesa, Embry-Riddle, Park-Gilbert, and Saint Katherine) will join in 2024-25.
William Carey Adding Three Sports
William Carey University (Hattiesburg, Mississippi) is adding three sports starting with the 2024-25 academic year. Men's and women's swimming and competitive cheer will be coming to the University but on separate campuses. The Hattiesburg location will be the home for the cheer squad while men's and women's swimming will be located at the Tradition campus. William Carey is a member of the NAIA's Southern States Athletic Conference.
Photo courtesy of Le Moyne Athletics