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 30 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|
|Abraham Baldwin||Moving to NAIA||Yes – 2024-25||NJCAA||SSAC (NAIA)|
|Alfred State||Track & Field Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2024-25||United East (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|Alfred State||Football Joining Empire 8||Yes – 2025-26||ECFC (D3)||Empire 8 (D3)|
|Anna Maria||Joining MASCAC||Yes – 2025-26||GNAC (D3)|
Football: ECFC (D3)
|Asbury||Joining CCS||Yes – 2024-25||Independent (D3)||CCS (D3)|
|Averett||Men’s Volleyball Joining ODAC||Yes – 2024-25||Independent (D3)||ODAC (D3)|
|Baptist Bible College||Moving to NAIA||Yes – 2024-25||NCCAA||AMC (NAIA)|
|Brockport||Wrestling Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2023-24||ECWC (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|Cal Baptist||Possible WCC Expansion Target||No||N/A||N/A|
|Campbellsville||Moving Broadcasts Behind Paywall||No||N/A||N/A|
|Cortland||Wrestling Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2023-24||ECWC (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|Cumberland||Reviewing Realignment Options||No||N/A||N/A|
|Dean College||Football Joining MASCAC||Yes – 2025-26||ECFC (D3)||MASCAC (D3)|
|Defiance College||Moving to NAIA||Yes – 2024-25||HCAC (D3)||WHAC (NAIA)
Football: MSFA (NAIA)
|Detroit Mercy||Joining NEC in Men’s Lacrosse||Yes – 2024-25||ASUN (D1)||NEC (D1)|
|FBS and FCS Programs||New FBS Requirements||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||N/A|
|Florida State||Adding Women’s Lacrosse||Yes – 2025-26||N/A||ACC (D1)|
|Gonzaga||Talking with Big 12 about Joining Conference||No||N/A||N/A|
|Grand Canyon||Possible WCC Expansion Target||No||N/A||N/A|
|Ithaca||Wrestling Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2023-24||ECWC (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|Jamestown (ND)||Kicked Out of GPAC||Yes – 2024-25||GPAC (NAIA)||TBD|
|Lincoln Christian (IL)||College Closing||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||N/A|
|Mennonite University||Men’s Volleyball Joining ODAC||Yes – 2024-25||CVC (D3)||ODAC (D3)|
|NEC||Adding Men’s Lacrosse Championship||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||N/A|
|Neumann||Joining MAC in Hockey||Yes – 2024-25||UCHC (D3)||MAC (D3)|
|New College of Florida||Moving to NAIA||Yes – 2024-25||New Program||Sun Conference (NAIA)|
|NEWMAC||New Deal with NSN||No||N/A||N/A|
|Oneonta||Wrestling Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2023-24||ECWC (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|Oswego||Wrestling Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2023-24||ECWC (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|Penn College||Joining AMCC for Wrestling||Yes – 2023-24||ECWC (D3)||AMCC (D3)|
|Randolph College||Men’s Volleyball Joining ODAC||Yes – 2024-25||New Program||ODAC (D3)|
|Randolph-Macon||Men’s Volleyball Joining ODAC||Yes – 2024-25||CVC (D3)||ODAC (D3)|
|RIT||Wrestling Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2023-24||ECWC (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|Roanoke College||Men’s Volleyball Joining ODAC||Yes – 2024-25||CVC (D3)||ODAC (D3)|
|Saint Mary’s (IN)||Adding STUNT||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD (D3)|
|Seattle||Possible WCC Expansion Target||No||N/A||N/A|
|Simpson (IA)||Joining WIAC for in Women’s Gymnastics||Yes – 2024-25||Independent (D3)||WIAC (D3)|
|Southern Virginia||Adding Women’s Beach Volleyball||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD (D3)|
|Spartanburg Methodist||Moving to NAIA||Yes – 2024-25||NJCAA||CAC (NAIA)|
|St. John Fisher||Wrestling Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2023-24||ECWC (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|Stillman||Joining GCAC||Yes – 2024-25||SSAC (NAIA)||GCAC (NAIA)|
|SUNY Canton||Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2024-25||North Atlantic (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|SUNY Morrisville||Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2024-25||North Atlantic (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|University of Lynchburg||Men’s Volleyball Joining ODAC||Yes – 2024-25||New Program||ODAC (D3)|
|Utica||Wrestling Joining SUNYAC||Yes – 2023-24||Independent (D3)||SUNYAC (D3)|
|Virginia Wesleyan||Men’s Volleyball Joining ODAC||Yes – 2024-25||Independent (D3)||ODAC (D3)|
|VMI||Joining NEC in Men’s Lacrosse||Yes – 2024-25||MAAC (D1)||NEC (D1)|
|Vorhees||Joining GCAC||Yes – 2024-25||CAC (NAIA)||GCAC (NAIA)|
|West Georgia||Adding Track & Field||Yes – 2023-24||N/A||Gulf South (D2)|
|Westminster (MO)||Adding Men’s Volleyball||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD (D3)|
|Wheaton (MA)||Joining MPSF for Men’s Water Polo||Yes – 2024-25||Independent (D1)||MPSF (D1)|
|Wilberforce||Joining GCAC||Yes – 2024-25||CAC (NAIA)||GCAC (NAIA)|
|Wilkes||Joining MAC in Hockey||Yes – 2024-25||UCHC (D3)||MAC (D3)|
New FBS Requirements
The NCAA has adopted a new set of rules designed to make the FBS requirements more stringent. Included in these changes are an increase in the FBS application from $5,000 to $5,000,000 and a minimum of $6 million to be awarded in scholarships annually (up from $4 million). In addition, the NCAA eliminated the attendance requirements for all FBS schools. The application fee and attendance requirements are effective immediately while the scholarship change will be effective with the 2027-28 academic year. It’s not difficult to see that the NCAA is attempting to limit the number of future FBS teams by imposing a high initial bar with the application fee and an ongoing high bar with the scholarship awards.
Gonzaga and Big 12 Restart Realignment Talks
The Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Big 12 are once again discussing a possible invite according to Seth Davis. Gonzaga has been rumored on and off about joining the Big 12 but that was sidelined in August following the addition of Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah from the Pac-12. The newest timeline would have Gonzaga joining the Big 12 as early as the 2024-25 academic year. It should also be noted that the Big 12 is not in contact with UConn as they were previously although that could change. A decision regarding Gonzaga is not imminent according to Matt Brown of Extra Points.
WCC Lines Up Possible Future Members
Should Gonzaga ultimately move to the Big 12, the West Coast Conference is already looking at potential schools to backfill. The three schools mentioned were California Baptist, Grand Canyon, and Seattle according to Rocco Miller. All three are currently members of the Western Athletic Conference and the most logical team to join the WCC is clearly Seattle based on the proximity to current WCC members while Grand Canyon’s men’s basketball team made the NCAA Tournament in 2021 and 2023.
D1 Sports Changes
Florida State will add women’s lacrosse to its sponsored sports beginning with the 2025-26 academic year. Florida State has had a club team for a number of years and has decided to make the move to a varsity sport. The Seminoles will compete in the ACC, which has been a force in women’s lacrosse with at least one ACC team making the D1 national championship game in 13 of the previous 14 seasons.
Detroit Mercy and VMI are joining the Northeast Conference as affiliate members in men’s lacrosse beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Detroit will leave the ASUN while VMI will leave the MAAC. The moves also led the NEC to reinstate its men’s lacrosse championship in the same academic year. The seven teams that will compete for the title in 2024-25 are Detroit Mercy, Le Moyne, Long Island, Merrimack, Sacred Heart, VMI, and Wagner.
D2 Sports Changes
West Georgia (Carrollton, Georgia) is bringing back men’s track and field beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. The announcement was expected after the school announced it would move up to Division 1 and join the ASUN in 2024-25. The return of track and field will be for both the indoor and outdoor seasons and the program will compete in the Gulf South Conference this academic year.
Division 3 Anna Maria Joining MASCAC
Anna Maria College (Paxton, Massachusetts) will leave the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) to join the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). The move will be effective beginning with the 2025-26 academic year and will make the first private college to become a full member of the MASCAC. Anna Maria’s men’s hockey program is already set to join the MASCAC in 2024-25 with the remaining sports to follow a year later. The football team will join from the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC).
Asbury Joining CCS
Asbury University (Wilmore, Kentucky) will join the Collegiate Conference of the South beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Asbury is currently a Division 3 independent school and is finishing its three-year transition from the NAIA to the NCAA. The CCS will remain at 9 teams with the inclusion of Asbury as Berea College is leaving to join the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) beginning with the 2024-25 academic year.
ECFC Continues to Bleed Members
The Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) is down to one member and the sunset is beginning on the conference. Alfred State (Alfred, New York) and Dean College (Franklin, Massachusetts) announced their departures following the 2024-25 academic year. Alfred State will join the Empire 8 Conference while Dean is headed to the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). Combine these with the departure of Anna Maria to the MASCAC and it will leave the ECFC with only one member, Gallaudet, which is already looking at its options.
SUNYAC Adds 2 Full Members and Makes a Slew of Additional Changes
The State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) was busy in early October. The duo of SUNY Canton and SUNY Morrisville were announced as full members beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The duo will leave the North Atlantic Conference and effectively replace SUNY Brockport and SUNY Geneseo with those two schools joining the Empire 8 Conference in 2024-25.
The conference also announced it will begin sponsoring men’s wrestling beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. This season will see Brockport, Cortland, Ithaca, Oneonta, Oswego, RIT, St. John Fisher, and Utica compete for the conference title. Men’s wrestling is the 22nd sport sponsored by the conference and is replacing the Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference. All 8 schools except Utica (independent) were previously members of the ECWC.
D3 Sports Changes
Alfred State (Alfred, New York) will leave the United East Conference in men’s and women’s track & field to join the SUNYAC beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The move was announced by the SUNYAC along with numerous other membership changes. Alfred State is a full member of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC).
Neumann University (Aston, Pennsylvania) and Wilkes University (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) will join the Middle Atlantic Conference as affiliate members in men’s and women’s ice hockey beginning in 2024-25. Both schools will compete in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) for the 2023-24 academic year before joining the MAC in 2024-25. Neumann is a full member of the Atlantic East Conference while Wilkes is a full member of the Landmark Conference but had previously been in the MAC through the 2022-23 academic year.
The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) announced it will begin sponsoring men’s volleyball beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The inaugural season will feature seven programs: Averett University (Danville, Virginia), Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Virginia), Randolph College (Lynchburg, Virginia), Randolph-Macon College (Ashland, Virginia), Roanoke College (Salem, Virginia), University of Lynchburg (Virginia), and Virginia Wesleyan (Virginia Beach, Virginia).
Penn College (Williamsport, Pennsylvania) is joining the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference in men’s wrestling beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. The school was previously a member of the Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference. Penn College is a full member of the United East Conference.
Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, Indiana) is adding the sport of STUNT beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. STUNT is a growing sport amongst NCAA schools with the Division 2 level already having approved it as an emerging sport. The Division 1 and Division 3 levels are likely to give the same approval in the near future. Saint Mary’s is a women’s college and a full member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).
Simpson College (Indianola, Iowa) is joining the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) as an affiliate member in women’s gymnastics beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The school first began women’s gymnastics in 2022-23 and has competed as an independent since then. Simpson is a full member of the American Rivers Conference, which doesn’t sponsor women’s gymnastics.
Southern Virginia University (Buena Vista, Virginia) is adding women’s beach volleyball beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. SVU will play an exhibition season in 2023-24 followed by a full competitive season in 2024-25. It is not yet known which conference SVU will compete in for beach volleyball. The Knights are a full member of the USA South Athletic Conference.
Westminster College (Fulton, Missouri) is adding men’s volleyball beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. It will be the 19th varsity sport for the Blue Jays. Westminster is a full member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC), which does not sponsor the sport. As of this posting, it is unknown which conference Westminster will join for men’s volleyball in 2024-25.
Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts) is joining the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) for men’s water polo beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Wheaton recently added water polo for men and women with the inaugural seasons occurring in 2023-24. The MPSF is a Division 1 conference, which means Wheaton will compete against D1 schools in water polo. Wheaton is a full member of the D3 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).
NEWMAC Announces New Streaming Partnership
The New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) has announced a partnership with Northeast Sports Network (NSN), which will result in the production and play-by-play for the semifinals and finals for 12 sports. The 12 sports that will have coverage are baseball, field hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, and women’s volleyball. All games will be available via the Northeast Sports Network and the NEWMAC Sports Network.
NAIA Announces Five New Members
The beginning of October was big for the NAIA as it announced the addition of five new members beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Some of these schools were previously known to be interested in the NAIA such as Abraham Baldwin, Baptist Bible College, and New College of Florida.
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (Tifton, Georgia) will leave the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and move to the Southern State Athletic Conference (SSAC). Spartanburg Methodist College (Spartanburg, South Carolina) will also leave the NJCAA and will be headed to the Continental Athletic Conference (CAC).
Baptist Bible College (Springfield, Missouri) will leave the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and plans to join the American Midwest Conference. The New College of Florida (Sarasota, Florida) is starting an athletics program and plans to join the Sun Conference.
Then there’s Defiance College (Defiance, Ohio), which is the surprise team included in the announcement. The Yellow Jackets will leave the NCAA Division 3 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) and return to the NAIA. Defiance will join the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) with football joining the Mid-State Football Association. The school also announced that its cheer and dance and Esports programs will be elevated to varsity status.
Cumberland to Reassess Athletics Future
Cumberland University (Lebanon, Tennessee) announced it has established an “Ad Hock Committee to explore options for the future of Cumberland University Athletics”. The school’s release specifically points out the recent realignment moves in the Power 5 conferences as a reason to review its own future. Cumberland plans to review all its options including a potential move to the NCAA or remaining in the NAIA. The school is currently a full member of the Mid-South Conference, which is comprised of seven schools from Kentucky and Tennessee.
Campbellsville Moves Broadcasts to Paywall
Campbellsville University (Campbellsville, Kentucky) has decided to move its broadcasts to a new subscription model via its YouTube page. The Tigers will have two tiers for its monthly subscription model. The first is the Claw United subscription, which is priced at $9.99 per month and gives access to live broadcasts and replays. The second subscription is the Claw United+, which provides the same as the Claw United plan but also includes additional features on YouTube and a one-time 25% discount in the school’s spirit shop. Campbellsville is the latest entity to move to a subscription model in college athletics. The Tigers are a member of the Mid-South Conference.
GPAC Boots Jamestown
The Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) has preemptively kicked the University of Jamestown (Jamestown, North Dakota) out of the conference beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The GPAC specifically references Jamestown’s pursuit of NCAA Division 2 membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) as the reason for removing the school. The NSIC will visit Jamestown later in October and will make a determination on whether to invite Jamestown by the end of 2023. The earliest Jamestown will begin the transition is in 2025-26 meaning they will need to find a temporary home in the NAIA for the 2024-25 academic year.
Lincoln Christian University To Close
Lincoln Christian University (Lincoln, Illinois) is closing its doors following the 2023-24 academic year. The school previously competed at the NAIA level until the 2021-22 academic year but dropped all sports following the 2022 spring semester. The school’s seminary will be acquired by Ozark Christian College and retain the name of “Lincoln Seminary”. The school cited declining enrollment and fewer donations as partial explanations for the closure. LCU’s athletics programs previously competed in the Continental Athletic Conference (CAC) from 2014 through 2022.
Stillman, Vorhees, and Wilberforce Joining GCAC
Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, Alabama), (Vorhees University (Denmark, South Carolina), and Wilberforce (Wilberforce, Ohio) are joining the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Stillman will leave the Southern State Athletic Conference while the latter duo are currently independent NAIA members in the Continental Athletic Conference (CAC). Vorhees and Wilberforce were members of the Mid-South Conference in 2022-23 but left after the school year to become independents. The GCAC is the only HBCU conference at the NAIA level and will have 13 members beginning in 2024-25.
Photo courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics