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 August 31 and provide updates on 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||Files for Bankruptcy||Yes – 2023-24||MEC (D2)||N/A|
|Big West||Men’s Water Polo Granted AQ Bid||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||N/A|
|California||Moving to ACC||Yes – 2024-25||Pac-12 (D1)||ACC (D1)|
|CIAA||New Streaming Deal||No||N/A||N/A|
|Delaware||Linked to FBS Move||No||N/A||N/A|
|King University||Adding Archery||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD|
|Life University||Joining Sun Conference for Women’s Flag Football||Yes – 2023-24||New Program||Sun Conference (NAIA)|
|Lindsey Wilson||Adding Women’s Wrestling||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||Mid-South (NAIA)|
|Middle Atlantic Conference||Hockey Obtaining AQ Status||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||N/A|
|New Jersey City||Financial Issues||No||N/A||N/A|
|Niagara||Women’s Bowling Joining NEC||Yes – 2023-24||New Program||NEC (D1)|
|Oregon State||Suing Pac-12||No||N/A||N/A|
|Point University||Joining Sun Conference for Women’s Flag Football||Yes – 2023-24||New Program||Sun Conference (NAIA)|
|Reinhardt University||Joining Sun Conference for Women’s Flag Football||Yes – 2023-24||Independent (NAIA)||Sun Conference (NAIA)|
|SMU||Moving to ACC||Yes – 2024-25||AAC (D1)||ACC (D1)|
|Stanford||Moving to ACC||Yes – 2024-25||Pac-12 (D1)||ACC (D1)|
|Sun Conference||Adding Esports||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||N/A|
|SUNY Brockport||Men’s Hockey Joining UCHC||Yes – 2024-25||SUNYAC (D3)||UCHC (D3)|
|SUNY Geneseo||Men’s Hockey Joining UCHC||Yes – 2024-25||SUNYAC (D3)||UCHC (D3)|
|Trevecca Nazarene||Joining Gulf South||Yes – 2024-25||Great Midwest (D2)||Gulf South (D2)|
|Washington State||Suing Pac-12||No||N/A||N/A|
|West Coast Conference||Men’s Water Polo Granted AQ Bid||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||N/A|
|West Georgia||Moving to D1||Yes – 2024-25||Gulf South (D2)||ASUN and UAC (D1)|
|West Liberty||Adding Women’s Wrestling||Yes – 2024-25||New Program||TBD (D3)|
|Wichita State||Adding Women’s Bowling||Yes – 2024-25||Club Team||TBD (D1)|
ACC Votes to Expand
September started off with a bang as the ACC voted to expand on the first day of the month. California, SMU, and Stanford will join the ACC beginning with the 2024-25 academic year but all three will pay a steep price to do so. Cal and Stanford will receive 30% shares of any ACC media payouts. However, SMU will take the biggest hit and will forego media revenue from the ACC for as long as 9 years to become a member. SMU has some wealthy donors who are willing to bankroll the next decade without revenue and it caps a troubled history after SMU’s football program was hit with the death penalty in the late 1980s.
The ACC will receive an additional $72 million per year from ESPN as a result of the expansion. Whether or not that is enough to quell the unhappy members remains to be seen. Speaking of unhappy members, the vote was reportedly 12-3 with NC State flipping from “no” to “yes” while Clemson, Florida State, and North Carolina remained against expansion.
More questions arise following these moves. What will happen to Oregon State and Washington State? Will they move to the AAC to replace SMU or look elsewhere? Or will they head to the Mountain West? Does the ACC continue expanding and go to 20 members (19 full members with Notre Dame a member in all sports except football)? The realignment rollercoaster never stops.
University of West Georgia to Join ASUN
The University of West Georgia (Carrollton, Georgia) is moving up to Division 1 to join the ASUN beginning with the 2024-25 academic year as first reported by Matt Brown of Extra Points. The football program will become a member of the United Athletic Conference. West Georgia is currently a member of the Division 2 Gulf South Conference and would undergo a four-year transition process as part of the move to Division 1. The Wolves have been a consistent playoff team at the Division 2 level with five appearances since 2014 out of a possible 8 seasons (not including the 2020 campaign).
As part of the transition to Division 1, the Wolves will add men’s indoor and outdoor track & field beginning with the 2024-25 academic year to reach the minimum number of sports required to be a D1 member. Beyond that, the school also plans to add women’s beach volleyball and STUNT.
Army to American Athletic?
With SMU off to the ACC, the American Athletic Conference is looking to replace them and Army is the top choice. Should this come to fruition, Army would be a football-only addition to give the AAC 14 teams. Interestingly enough, we wrote about this possibility back in 2019. We weren’t sold on the idea but a lot has changed since that article was posted. Have we changed our minds?
Yes, somewhat. The current realignment shuffle has put teams in a strange position of “now or never”. Honestly, it would be completely understandable if Army joined the AAC because they didn’t want to miss the boat and they will have Navy with them in the AAC. In addition, it sounds like the Army-Navy game will remain a non-conference matchup in its current time slot a week after the conference championship game but that has not been definitely confirmed. Finally, there’s the expanded College Football Playoff, which would give Army a much better chance of making in the AAC rather than being independent.
The worry for Army – and one we talked about in 2019 – is the conference scheduling and getting the Army recruiting to an AAC level. Let’s look at Navy for comparison. They started off so well with three straight winning seasons from 2015 through 2017 but each season had fewer wins. In 2018, they went 3-10 but they bounced back with an 11-2 season in 2019. Since then, it’s been all downhill with three straight losing seasons and they fired Ken Niumatalolo. That’s the biggest concern that joining the AAC will hurt Army’s ability to compete but Jeff Monken has done very well in his time leading Army. Assuming he’s still in charge if/when they join the AAC, that will be a big plus they didn’t have when they tried the C-USA route 25 years ago.
Delaware Linked to Potential FBS Move
The University of Delaware has been linked with a move to the FBS. A story by Kevin Tresolini of the Delaware News Journal says the FBS is closer to reality than ever before. Tresolini believes the recent additions to the Coastal Athletic Association are pushing Delaware to the FBS. In addition, there have been fundraising efforts to improve the football facilities that are pointing to a move to the FBS. The MAC was listed as the likely destination with similar academic profiles and it would likely mean the MAC would look for another team beyond Delaware to make it an even 14.
Oregon State and Washington State Seek Pac-12 Assets and IP
When the Pac-12 fell apart one of the big questions was what becomes of the Pac-12, its assets, information, and intellectual property. Oregon State and Washington State are seeking to answer that question via a lawsuit and are looking to keep the Pac-12 alive. Whether that results in a merger with the Mountain West under the Pac-12 name or a different outcome may be tied up in court. A copy of the filing against the Pac-12 can be found here.
D1 Sports Changes
Two Division 1 conferences have received automatic qualification bids to the Men’s Water Polo tournament beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. The Big West brought back water polo with six teams competing (the minimum needed for an AQ bid): Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and UC Barbara. The West Coast Conference is the other conference that has an AQ bid with 7 teams. The WCC is comprised of four full members – Loloyla Marymount, Pacific, Pepperdine, and Santa Clara – and three affiliate programs – Air Force, Cal Baptist, and San Jose State.
Niagara University’s women’s bowling team will compete as a member of the Northeast Conference effective with the 2023-24 academic year. Niagara added women’s bowling in June after the closing of Medaille University with the Purple Eagles absorbing the Medaille program. The NEC will have 8 members for the 2023-24 women’s bowling season: Duquesne, Fairleigh Dickinson, Long Island, Merrimack, Niagara, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis, and Wagner. Niagara is a full member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which doesn’t sponsor women’s bowling.
Wichita State will move its club women’s bowling team to varsity status beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Wichita State is a full member of the American Athletic Conference. It is not yet known which conference Wichita State will join but fellow AAC members Tulane is an associate member of Conference USA and UAB is an associate member of the MEAC.
Division 2 Trevecca Nazarene Headed to Gulf South
Trevecca Nazarene University (Nashville, Tennessee) is on the move. The Trojans will leave the Great Midwest Athletic Conference and join the Gulf South Conference beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. TNU represents a replacement for West Georgia but in all sports since TNU doesn’t have a football program. The GSC will have 11 teams in 2024-25 with the duo of Shorter University and West Georgia moving to different conferences. The G-MAC will have 13 members in 2024-25 and the loss of TNU will make Thomas More University in Crestview Hills, Kentucky the Southernmost member.
Alderson Broaddus Files For Bankruptcy
What was all but certain in late July is now official for Alderson Broaddus (Philippi, West Virginia) as the university has filed for bankruptcy. AB originally planned to stay open for the Fall 2023 semester but that will not happen as employees have received their final paycheck. The Battlers were a full member of the Mountain East Conference and the MEC previously set up a scheduling agreement with Salem University to replace some athletic contests lost by AB’s sudden departure.
D2 Sports Changes
King University (Bristol, Tennessee) is adding archery to its list of sports offerings beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. King University is a full member of the Conference Carolinas, which has 14 members from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee with a 15th member (Shorter) set to join in 2024-25.
West Liberty (West Liberty, West Virginia) is adding women’s wrestling effective with the 2024-25 academic year. Women’s wrestling will be the 19th varsity sport offered by the Hilltoppers. West Liberty is a full member of the Mountain East Conference, which does not sponsor women’s wrestling and the only other MEC member that does is Frostburg State. It is not known which conference West Liberty will join, if any.
CIAA Announces New Streaming Deal
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) announced a 10-year media deal with Allen Media Group (AMG) to stream certain CIAA events. The CIAA’s sporting events will be broadcast on HBCU GO and feature football, men’s and women’s basketball, and other Olympic sports. HBCU GO will also have the right to stream the CIAA’s football championship game. The CIAA is comprised of 13 full members from Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
D3 Sports Changes
The Middle Atlantic Conference announced that both men’s and women’s hockey will have automatic qualifier status to the NCAA tournament beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. As of the press release, each sport will have six participants for the first year. Men’s hockey members will be Alvernia, Arcadia, King’s, Lebanon Valley, Misericordia, and Stevenson. Women’s hockey will look the same except Misericordia will be replaced by Hood while Alvernia, Arcadia, King’s, Lebanon Valley, and Stevenson will also compete.
The United Collegiate Hockey Conference will welcome two new members beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The State University of New York duo of Brockport and Geneseo will move their men’s hockey team to the UCHC after announcing a move out of the SUNYAC last month. Both schools are joining the Empire 8 beginning in 2024-25. The UCHC will have 8 members for men’s hockey in 2024-25: Brockport, Chatham, Geneseo, Manhattanville, Nazareth, Neumann, Utica, and Wilkes.
Division 3 New Jersey City University Facing More Financial Trouble
New Jersey City University is experiencing more problems after some financial issues boiled to the top. NJCU has appointed a monitor to help the university become financially solvent and avoid the possibility of closure. It was revealed that former administrators mishandled the school’s finances, which ultimately led to layoffs and the current predicament. NJCU is a full member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).
NAIA Sports Changes
Lindsey Wilson College (Columbia, Kentucky) is adding women’s wrestling beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. It will be the 27th sport offered by the college. Lindsey Wilson is a full member of the Mid-South Conference, which is also where its wrestling team will compete. The Blue Raiders will be the 11th MSC team to offer the sport along with Brewton-Parker, Campbellsville, Cumberlands, Indiana Tech, Life, Lourdes, Montreat, Rochester, Siena Heights, and St. Andrews.
The Sun Conference is making several changes across two sports. The first is the conference will begin sponsoring Esports beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. It will be the 24th sponsored by the Sun Conference and will have eight members in the first year with Florida Memorial, Keiser, Loyola New Orleans, LSU Shreveport, Savannah College of Art and Design, Southeastern, St. Thomas (FL), and Webber International competing.
The second change for the Sun Conference is the addition of three programs for women’s flag football. The three new affiliate schools are Life University (Marietta, Georgia), Point University (West Point, Georgia), and Reinhardt University (Waleska, Georgia). They will join Florida Memorial, Keiser, St. Thomas (FL), Thomas University, Warner, and Webber International as part of the 9-team lineup beginning in 2023-24.
Photo courtesy of SMU Athletics