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 July 15 and provide updates on some previously discussed topics. As a reminder, all official moves starting with the 2023-24 academic year can be found here while anything happening in 2024-25 or later can be found here.
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 two weeks. We’ve also summarized the news items in a table below if you are more interested in a summary or specific news item rather than having to scroll to find it.
|School(s)||News Item||Realignment Change / Effective Year||Current Conference||New Conference|
|Alderson Broaddus||Shutting Down?||Yes? – 2023-24||Mountain East (D2)||N/A|
|CAA||Name Change||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||N/A|
|Colorado||Joining Big 12||Yes – 2024-25||Pac-12 (D1)||Big 12 (D1)|
|Dickinson State||Adding Trap Shooting Team||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||USA College Clay Target League|
|Frontier Conference||Possible Expansion||No||N/A||N/A|
|Gordon College||Adding Indoor Track & Field||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||CCC (D3)|
|Keene State||Adding Hockey and eSports||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||Indpendent (D3)|
|Keene State||Men’s Hockey Conference Change||Yes – 2025-26||Independent (D3)||Little East (D3)|
|Little East||Sponsoring Men’s Ice Hockey||Yes – 2025-26||N/A||N/A|
|Lone Star Conference||Adding STUNT||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||N/A|
|Massachusetts-Boston||Men’s Hockey Conference Change||Yes – 2025-26||NEHC (D3)||Little East (D3)|
|Massachusetts-Dartmouth||Men’s Hockey Conference Change||Yes – 2025-26||MASCAC (D3)||Little East (D3)|
|North Dakota State||Not Pursuing MWC Invite||No||N/A||N/A|
|Northland College||Adding Wrestling||Yes – 2025-26||N/A||TBD (D3)|
|Plymouth State||Men’s Hockey Conference Change||Yes – 2025-26||MASCAC (D3)||Little East (D3)|
|San Diego State||MWC Update||No||N/A||N/A|
|South Dakota State||Not Pursuing MWC Invite||No||N/A||N/A|
|Southern Maine||Men’s Hockey Conference Change||Yes – 2025-26||NEHC (D3)||Little East (D3)|
|St. Ambrose||Football Joining HAAC||Yes – 2024-25||MSFA (NAIA)||HAAC (NAIA)|
|Texas at Dallas||Joining Lone Star||Yes – 2025-26||American Southwest (D3)||Lone Star (D2)|
|Vermont State-Castleton||Men’s Hockey Conference Change||Yes – 2025-26||NEHC (D3)||Little East (D3)|
|William Woods||Football Joining HAAC||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||HAAC (NAIA)|
Welcome Back to the Big 12 Colorado
The Colorado Buffaloes are leaving the Pac-12 to return to the Big 12 effective with the 2024-25 academic year. It’s not a huge surprise as the Buffs have been linked to the Big 12 for months along with other schools currently in the Pac-12. With the ongoing struggles of a new Pac-12 media deal, Colorado felt its future was best in the Big 12. Financially, Colorado will receive a full share of the media revenue generated by the Big 12’s new contract in 2024-25, which is valued at $31.7 million according to Brett McMurphy at the Action Network.
The storm winds are now stronger than ever in the Pac-12 as they are down to 9 members. Colorado, UCLA, and USC will leave the conference after the 2023-24 academic year and the question becomes which school is next? Will there be a larger exodus? Or will the Pac-12 finally accept a media rights deal and try to get additional teams to join the conference to offset the losses?
As for the Big 12, they’re looking to add at least one more member according to sources. There is no shortage of candidates from Arizona to Connecticut to Gonzaga and even San Diego State or SMU. Other targets could be any of the remaining Pac-12 schools but Arizona State, Oregon, Utah, and Washington are most like from that group. The most recent development of adding Colorado makes it more likely the Big 12 will add a football-playing member, which would leave Gonzaga on the outside looking in.
Dakota Schools Deny Mountain West Invite Rumors
North Dakota State and South Dakota State both denied they were attempting to move up to the FBS and join the Mountain West Conference. The school presidents went on record to refute the rumor that began in mid-July when former Montana athletic director Jim O’Day made the claim the two schools wanted to join the Mountain West. It is understandable both schools may want to keep as many options open as possible if they would like to join the FBS in the future and may be doing their diligence. NDSU has long been a frequent rumored FBS target given the dominance they’ve had on the FCS but SDSU has emerged as a strong program as well in recent years. It would make sense if the schools joined a new conference together to help ease the travel burden.
San Diego State Remains in Mountain West
San Diego State has been “allowed to remain” a member of the Mountain West Conference. The saga began in early June when San Diego State gave notice to the MWC that they intended to leave, which was interpreted by the Mountain West as them actually leaving. In response, the MWC said SDSU owed $17 million in exit fees and wouldn’t receive the $6.6 million distribution for the 2022-23 academic year. As of this posting, the dust has settled as the Aztecs are officially considered a member of the Mountain West and will receive the $6.6 million but will have to pay for the legal fees from the whole saga. If SDSU wishes to leave before the next two academic years are complete, it will owe $34 million in exit fees to the MWC.
The CAA Changes Its Name
The CAA has decided to change its name from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Coastal Athletic Association. The CAA will keep the same CAA logo it has used previously. The conference felt a new name was needed given the change in membership over the last couple of years as the CAA will have 14 full members in 2023-24 and will have 15 football members as noted by our friends at Fear the FCS.
D2 Sports Changes
The Lone Star Conference will begin sponsoring the sport of STUNT beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. Currently, four members – Dallas Baptist, St. Mary’s (TX), Texas Woman’s University, and Texas Tyler – sponsor STUNT, and Texas A&M-Kingsville will add the sport beginning in 2024-25. STUNT will become the 19th sport sponsored by the LSC.
Texas at Dallas Headed to NCAA Division 2
The University of Texas at Dallas is set to leave the NCAA Division 3 American Southwest Conference (ASC) and join the NCAA Division 2 Lone Star Conference. UTD will apply for NCAA Division 2 membership in February 2024 and, if accepted, will play its first year of the transition in the ASC for 2024-25. The Comets would join the Lone Star in 2025-26 for year two and finish up the three-year transition process in 2026-27.
UTD is another loss for the American Southwest, which will see five full members and two associate members leave over the next few years. The ASC will plummet from 10 full members to five by 2025-26. The Comets aren’t the only team making the ASC to LSC move as Sul Ross State is also taking that course but they will join a year earlier in 2024-25. The Lone Star Conference will have 18 members by the time Texas Dallas joins in 2026 although that number could fluctuate due to other realignment moves.
Alderson Broaddus On the Verge of Shutting Down
Alderson Broaddus University (Philippi, West Virginia) has hit a rough patch as an educational institution and its days might be numbered. Just a few weeks ago, the school was given provisional reauthorization from West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission allowing the school the remain open for another academic year. Alderson Broaddus needed to undergo a comprehensive accreditation review in the future due to financial difficulties and that comprehensive review is now complete.
On July 31, the Higher Education Policy Commission voted unanimously to force AB to begin winding down its operations. The order would allow the school to remain open for the fall 2023 semester in order to allow seniors graduating in the term to finish their degrees. However, new students and returning students would not be allowed to take classes but some West Virginia colleges are willing to help out if AB cannot get the decision overturned. It would also mean shutting down the athletics department immediately. Aderson Broaddus has 10 days to appeal the decision.
The most recent news is the latest in a string of omens for the school. Earlier in July, AB had been given notice that it owes $776,000 in utilities and will have them shut off if they do not pay them by July 31. The school was allowed a new payment plan with the city and AB made the first payment on July 31. The Battlers are a full member of the Mountain East Conference, which is made up of schools from primarily West Virginia along with Maryland and Ohio.
D3 Sports Changes
Gordon College (Wenham, Massachusetts) is back in the realignment report with more sports news. the school has decided to bring back both men’s and women’s indoor track and field effective with the 2023-24 academic year. The school previously offered those sports until 2015 and has been participating in some indoor events on a limited basis over the past few years. The school announced earlier in July that it was adding women’s golf starting with the 2023-24 academic year. With three new sports, Gordon College will sponsor 24 varsity sports, and the men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams will compete in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, of which Gordon is a full member.
Keene State (Keene, New Hampshire) is adding men’s ice hockey, women’s ice hockey, and esports beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Keene State will sponsor a total of 24 varsity sports when the newest additions begin competition. All three programs will compete as independent schools for the first season. Keene State is a full member of the Little East Conference, which was directly impacted by the Keene State news.
The Little East Conference will begin sponsoring men’s ice hockey starting with the 2025-26 academic year thanks to Keene State adding the sport. Six teams will compete in the inaugural season: Keene State, Massachusetts-Boston, Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Plymouth State, Southern Maine, and Vermont State-Castleton. UMass-Boston, Southern Maine, and Vermont State-Castleton will leave the New England Hockey Conference while UMass-Dartmouth and Plymouth State will leave the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.
In addition to the men’s news, the LEC is also considering adding women’s ice hockey as a sponsored program if they can find a sixth member for the sport. With Keene State adding women’s hockey, there will be a total of LEC programs – Keene State, Massachusetts-Boston, Plymouth State, Southern Maine, and Vermont State-Castleton.
Northland College (Ashland, Wisconsin) is adding both men’s and women’s wrestling beginning with the 2025-26 academic year. Northland is a full member of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference but the UMAC doesn’t sponsor wrestling. It is not known which conference Northland will compete in or if they’ll opt to compete as an independent. With the addition of two wrestling programs, Northland will sponsor 16 varsity sports.
NAIA Frontier Conference Looking to Expand
The Frontier Conference announced a new commissioner earlier in July 2023 with Scott Crawford taking over the helm on September 1. Now, we have an idea of his vision for the conference’s future during an interview with 406MTSports. Crawford said he would like to see the conference add two to four new full members over the next three-to-five years. Currently, the Frontier has six full members – Carroll College, Montana State-Northern, Montana Tech, Montana Western, Providence (MT), and Rocky Mountain College – and four football-only affiliates for 2023 – Arizona Christian, College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Oregon. Of the six full members, only Providence doesn’t sponsor football.
Ultimately, Crawford would like to have 10 full members and 12 football-playing members. He plans to scour the landscape for current NCAA Division 2 schools, fellow NAIA programs, and current two-year schools that may want to become four-year programs. As with any commissioner, Crawford wants to get the Frontier Conference on a higher national standing by putting more teams in the football tournament, hosting basketball tournament games, and streaming more of the conference’s sporting events. The first new member is expected to be announced by May 1, 2024 according to Crawford.
NAIA Sports Changes
Dickinson State University (Dickinson, North Dakota) is adding the co-ed sport of trap shooting effective with the 2023-24 academic year. The trap shooting team will be the 20th varsity sport sponsored by the school. DSU will become a member of the USA College Clay Target League when the team begins competition. Dickinson State is a full member of the North Star Athletic Association
The Heart of America Athletic Conference is making two football moves effective with the 2024-25 academic year. St. Ambrose University (Davenport, Iowa) will play the 2023-24 season as a member of the Mid-State Football Association before joining the HAAC in 2024-25. William Woods (Fulton, Missouri) is also joining the HAAC in 2024-25, which will be the inaugural season for the school’s football team. The HAAC will have a total of 14 teams in 2024-25 and will be split into North and South divisions as shown below.
North Division: Clarke University, Culver-Stockton, Graceland University, Grand View, Peru State, St. Ambrose, and William Penn.
South Division: Baker University, Benedictine (KS), Central Methodist, MidAmerica Nazarene, Missouri Baptist, Missouri Valley College, and William Woods.