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 September 15 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|
|Catawba||Adding Men’s Volleyball||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||Independent (D2)|
|Chicago State||Adding Triathlon|
Possibly Adding Football
|Yes – 2024-25|
Football – Maybe
|N/A||Triathlon: TBD (D1)|
|Davenport University||Moving 3 Sports to GMAC||Yes – 2024-25||GLVC/Independent (D2)||GMAC (D2)|
|East Tennessee State||Adding Acrobatics and Tumbling||Yes – 2025-26||N/A||TBD (D1)|
|Frontier and NSAA Conferences||Discussing Merger||Maybe – TBD||N/A||N/A|
|Mount Aloysius||Joining Atlantic East in Men’s Tennis||Yes – 2023-24||AMCC (D3)||Atlantic East (D3)|
|Patriot League||Extends Digital Rights With ESPN||No||N/A||N/A|
|Penn State-Altoona||Joining Atlantic East in Men’s Tennis||Yes – 2023-24||AMCC (D3)||Atlantic East (D3)|
|Penn State-Behrend||Joining Atlantic East in Men’s Tennis||Yes – 2023-24||AMCC (D3)||Atlantic East (D3)|
|Pittsburgh-Bradford||Discontinuing Tennis||Yes – 2023-24||AMCC (D3)||N/A|
|Pittsburgh-Greensburg||Joining Atlantic East in Men’s Tennis||Yes – 2023-24||AMCC (D3)||Atlantic East (D3)|
|Purdue Northwest||Adding STUNT||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD (D2)|
|Regent University||Joining NCAA D3||Yes – 2024-25||NCCAA||TBD (D3)|
|Saint Francis (IN)||Adding Bowling Programs||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||Crossroads (NAIA)|
|Simon Fraser||Football Update||No||N/A||N/A|
|St. Thomas (FL)||Adding Men’s Volleyball||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD (NAIA)|
|Valley City State||Football Future Concerns||No||N/A||N/A|
|Waldorf University||Joining GPAC||Yes – 2024-25||NSAA (NAIA)||GPAC (NAIA)|
|Waldorf University||Bowling Joins MIBC||Yes – 2023-24||Independent (NAIA)||MIBC (NAIA)|
Chicago State Starts Fundraising Drive With Possible Addition of Football
Chicago State may have a football team in the future if the school’s latest fundraising effort is successful. The school announced it would like to raise $4 million to expand its athletic offerings and football could be one of them. The Cougars have set a tentative start date of 2025 for football if the fundraising efforts are successful and the Board of Trustees approves the addition of football. Earlier in 2023, Chicago State announced the formation of an exploratory committee to look into football. The school has already stated if a football team is added, it will play at the FCS level. Chicago State is currently without a conference after leaving the WAC following the 2021-22 academic year.
In other news, Chicago State will add a women’s triathlon team beginning with the 2024-25 academic year as the first step in what it plans to be numerous sporting additions. It’s a unique addition for the school as there are only 42 dedicated triathlon programs in the NCAA, according to USA Triathlon, which is providing a grant to fund the program.
D1 Sports Changes
East Tennessee State University is adding a new program beginning with the 2025-26 academic year. ETSU will begin competing in Acrobatics and Tumbling starting with limited competition in 2025-26 followed by a full season in 2026-27. It is not known which conference, if any, that ETSU will compete in.
Patriot League and ESPN Extend Digital Deal
The Patriot League and ESPN are extending their digital rights deal that will continue to stream Patriot League events on ESPN+. The deal first went into effect in 2020 and will continue to show baseball, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, volleyball, and numerous other sports. As usual with these types of deals with ESPN+ as the main streaming option, terms were not disclosed.
D2 Sports Changes
Catawba College (Salisbury, North Carolina) will add men’s volleyball beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. It will be the school’s 24th varsity sport. Catawba will start its journey as an independent team in 2024-25 and could join a conference at a later time. Catawba is a full member of the South Atlantic Conference and four other SAC schools have a men’s volleyball program (Coker, Limestone, Lincoln Memorial, and Tusculum).
Davenport University (Grand Rapids, Michigan) is moving some of its sports to the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. Men’s lacrosse, STUNT, and men’s wrestling will become affiliate members of the GMAC beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Men’s lacrosse and men’s wrestling will move from the Great Lakes Valley Conference to the GMAC while the STUNT program is independent. Davenport is a full member of the Great Leakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Purdue University Northwest (Hammond and Westville, Indiana) is adding STUNT beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. STUNT will be the school’s 21st varsity sport. It is not yet known which conference, if any, PNW will compete in STUNT. Purdue Northwest is a full member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and is the first school in Indiana to offer the sport of STUNT.
Simon Fraser Football – Special Advisor’s Report Released
The saga of Simon Fraser’s football program continues with the most recent development being the Special Advisor’s Report released to the public. Earlier in 2023, the school was notified by the Lone Star Conference that it would end its contract with SFU as an affiliate member in football. In April 2023, the school decided it would drop football immediately as a result of the LSC’s decision and that was subsequently challenged by alumni and supporters of the team. The school then agreed to have an independent special advisor look into possible scenarios for the reinstatement of football.
The report believes that Simon Fraser cannot play football as a member of the NCAA or in the United States due to concerns regarding competitiveness and finances. Moving to D1, D3, or the NAIA is not allowed based on current bylaws with the NCAA or without a significant investment in additional sports for the NAIA. Furthermore, the report believes SFU’s football team should consider Canadian leagues Canada West or U SPORTS to compete although that would have its own challenges such as the application fee (about $370,000) and obtaining an exemption for a one-sport membership. Ultimately, the report believes that football wouldn’t be feasible to return until the 2025 season but it’s unlikely the football alumni will go quietly with the release of the report.
Regent University Set to Join NCAA Division 3
Regent University (Virginia Beach, Virginia) plans to begin the transition to the NCAA Division 3 beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Regent is currently a National Christian College Athletic Association (NCAA) member and the 2024-25 academic year would represent an exploratory year. After that, the school would go through a three-year provisional membership before becoming a full D3 member beginning with the 2028-29 academic year.
Regent currently offers basketball (men’s and women’s), cross country (men’s and women’s), track and field (men’s and women’s), and women’s volleyball. The Royals may add additional sports upon approval of D3 membership such as baseball, men’s volleyball, and softball.
D3 Sports Changes
The Atlantic East will welcome four new associate members in men’s tennis effective with the 2023-24 academic year. Mount Aloysius, Penn State Altoona, Penn State Behrend, and Pittsburgh-Greensburg will join current Atlantic East members Immaculata, Marywood, Marymount, and Neumann in an attempt to obtain an automatic qualifying bid. All four schools are joining from the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC). The AMCC had five men’s tennis programs but Pittsburgh-Bradford decided to discontinue men’s and women’s tennis following the 2022-23 academic year.
NAIA’s Waldorf University On the Move
Waldorf University (Forest City, Iowa) is changing conferences. The Warriors will leave the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) to join the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) effective with the 2024-25 academic year. The GPAC will be up to 13 members beginning in 2024-25 although that number may fluctuate if Jamestown (ND) goes through with the move to Division 2. The bigger concern is with the NSAA, which has only six full members for 2024-25 with Bellevue, Dakota State, Dickinson State, Mayville State, Valley City State, and Viterbo. The NSAA also lost Presentation College (Aberdeen, South Dakota) when the school closed down after the 2022-23 academic year.
Frontier Conference and NSAA Merger on the Horizon?
The Frontier Conference and North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) could possibly merge, according to The Billings Gazette and 406mtsports. Should it happen, it would help resolve two issues discussed in previous Realignment Reports. The first is that the Frontier Conference has already made it known they want to expand, as stated by new commissioner Scott Crawford in July. The second issue is that of the NSAA’s dwindling membership. As noted in the previous paragraph, the NSAA is down to six members with only four of them sponsoring football with Waldorf leaving after the 2023-24 academic year.
If the two conferences merged, it would result in a 12-team league with 9 of those 12 sponsoring football. On top of that, the Frontier Conference also has four affiliate members in football – Arizona Christian, College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Oregon – to give the new conference 13 football members. The final numbers in this hypothetical are close to what Crawford envisioned when took over when he stated his preference for 10 full members and 13 football members.
All of this assumes no schools will opt for a different path outside the Frontier-NSAA combined conference. For example, a recent article from NewsDakota.com lays out the various scenarios for Valley City State, which include joining the Frontier Conference, becoming an NAIA independent, moving to NCAA Division 3, or moving to NCAA Division 2. The school is worried the uncertainty may hurt its ability to recruit and be competitive going forward.
NAIA Sports Changes
In addition to moving to the GPAC, Waldorf’s men’s and women’s bowling teams will now compete in the Mid Iowa Bowling Conference (MIBC) beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. The MIBC is made up of programs largely from Iowa but the University of Nebraska’s men’s club bowling team also competes in the MIBC.
Saint Francis (Fort Wayne, Indiana) is adding men’s and women’s bowling programs beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. USF will compete in the Crossroads League, which now has 9 of its 10 members with bowling programs. Goshen announced in April 2023 that it would begin sponsoring bowling beginning in 2024-25. Taylor University is currently the only Crossroads member without a bowling program.
St. Thomas University (Miami Gardens, Florida) is adding men’s volleyball to its varsity sports offerings beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. It will be the 31st varsity sport for the Bobcats, which are a full member of the Sun Conference. It is not known which conference the school will compete in but the Bobcats are the third Sun school to add the sport following Warner and Webber International.