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 October 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|
|A-R-C||Hired New Commish||No||N/A||N/A|
|Army||Football Joining AAC||Yes – 2024-25||FBS Independent (D1)||AAC (D1)|
|Bentley University||Adding Women’s Golf||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||NE-10 (D2)|
|Birmingham-Southern||Uncertain Future Again||No||N/A||N/A|
|D2 Basketball, Football, and Volleyball||Potential Streaming Deal||No||N/A||N/A|
|Framingham State||Adding Women’s Ice Hockey||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD (D3)|
|Greensboro College||Adding Cross Country||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||USA South (D3)|
|Hannibal-LaGrange||Adding Competitive Dance||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD (NAIA)|
|Kentucky Wesleyan||Discontinuing 4 Sports||Yes – 2023-24||G-MAC (D2)||N/A|
|LaGrange (GA)||Adding Women’s Golf and Flag Football||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||Golf: USA South (D3)
Flag Football: TBD
|Maine Maritime||Men’s Wrestling to NEWA||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||NEWA (D3)|
|Merrimack||Moving to MAAC||Yes – 2024-25||NEC (D1)||MAAC (D1)|
|Miami (FL)||Plans to Add Softball||Yes – TBD||N/A||ACC (D1)|
|Mount Union||Adding Women’s Wrestling||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD (D3)|
|NIT||New Selection Process||No||N/A||N/A|
|Oregon State||Given Grace Period||Yes – 2025-26||N/A||N/A|
|Rochester||Adding Men’s Volleyball||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||WHAC (NAIA)|
|Sacred Heart||Moving to MAAC||Yes – 2024-25||NEC (D1)||MAAC (D1)|
|Saint Joseph’s||Adding Women’s Golf||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD (D1)|
|Texas A&M-Texarkana||Adding 3 Sports||Yes – 2024-25||N/A||TBD (NAIA)|
|VCU||No Football Plans||No||N/A||N/A|
|Viterbo||Joining CCAC||Yes – 2024-25||NSAA (NAIA)||CCAC (NAIA)|
|Washington State||Given Grace Period||Yes – 2025-26||N/A||N/A|
|Xavier||Not Adding Football||No||N/A||N/A|
Army Football Joining the American
Army will officially leave FBS independence behind to join the American Athletic Conference beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. It is a football-only move and will keep AAC’s football membership at 14 with SMU leaving for the ACC in 2024-25. The annual rivalry game between Army and Navy will still take place on the second weekend of December as a non-conference game. It is possible for both teams to play in back-to-back weeks should both programs reach the AAC Championship game. We opined on this exact scenario in 2019 but felt it wasn’t in the best interests of Army at the time. With an expanded playoff and insane levels of realignment that have occurred since then, it’s not too surprising they ended up in a conference. Here’s to hoping they fare much better in the AAC than they did in Conference USA. Black Knight Nation had a good article summarizing some of the issues involved with Army’s football program joining a conference.
NIT Changes Selection Procedures
The NIT has a new selection procedure that is titled heavily towards the Power 6 conferences. The NIT will award two automatic bids to the top 2 teams from the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC that were not selected for the NCAA Tournament. The NIT will use the NET rankings to determine the top 2 from those conferences. We made a deep dive into how much the conferences outside the Power 6 will be impacted in an article that can be found here. Bottom line: the conferences outside the Power 6 will lose about 13% of their bids on average to the Power 6 conferences based on data from 2007 through 2023.
Oregon State and Washington State Given a Grace Period
The NCAA has given Oregon State and Washington State a grace period of two years to operate as a two-team conference, according to WSU reporter Matt Loveless. The two schools have until the summer of 2026 to find additional members if they wish to continue as the Pac-12 Conference (or some other variation of it). This ruling will give the two schools options as they seek additional members or attempt a reverse merger with the Mountain West. The question of affiliate membership remains for other sports if the schools wish to have access to conference and NCAA Championships.
Merrimack and Sacred Heart Joining MAAC
Merrimack (North Andover, Massachusetts) and Sacred Heart (Fairfield, Connecticut) are leaving the Northeast Conference and joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Both schools also have a football program in the NEC but the MAAC doesn’t sponsor the sport. It is not yet known which conference they will join for football and remaining in the NEC as an affiliate hasn’t been ruled out.
The MAAC will be up to 13 members when Merrimack and Sacred Heart join Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Mount St. Mary’s, Niagara, Quinnipiac, Rider, Saint Peter’s, and Siena in the conference. Meanwhile, the NEC will be down to 7 members with Central Connecticut State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Le Moyne, Long Island, Saint Francis (PA), Stonehill, and Wagner remaining. Le Moyne is currently in year one of a four-year transition to Division 1 while Stonehill is in year two of its transition.
VCU Has No Football Plans
Virginia Commonwealth University has no plans to add football, according to school President Michael Rao. The topic came up twice over the summer of 2023 when board meetings were held with visitors at the school. Rao threw out a $200 million price tag to get football started at VCU followed by at least $10 million on an annual basis to run the program. VCU is a frequent prospect to start football given the high enrollment and previous basketball success (full disclosure: we’ve mentioned them twice on this website before here and here) but significant obstacles stand in the way such as lower TV revenues and the need to raise the funds necessary to start football. In short: football isn’t on the way for VCU, at least not any time soon.
Xavier Not Adding Football in the Near Term
Xavier University will not be adding football in the near term according to its athletic director Greg Christopher. The school was previously considering the addition of football earlier this year but has decided to prioritize its new College of Medicine building. Football has not been completely ruled out but figuring out the facilities on campus is a required step before committing to football.
D1 Sports Changes
The Miami Hurricanes are planning to add softball in the future but a definitive timeline has not been established. The school is still working out important details such as the facility to be used and how to begin raising funds for the new program. The Hurricanes are one of three current or future ACC members without a softball program. Wake Forest does not have a softball team nor does future ACC member SMU.
Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia and Lower Merion, Pennsylvania) is adding women’s golf beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. It will be the 21st varsity sport for the school and the first sport added since 1996-97 when women’s soccer was sponsored for the first time. The Owls are a full member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, which does not sponsor women’s golf. The school is attempting to find a conference that sponsors women’s golf and will announce its conference affiliation at a later date.
D2 Sports Changes
Bentley University (Waltham, Massachusetts) is adding women’s golf beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. It will be the school’s 24th varsity program. Bentley is a full member of the Northeast-10 Conference and the newly formed women’s golf team will compete there. The NE-10 will have seven members with women’s golf programs in 2024-25 with Aelphi, American International, Assumption, Bentley, Franklin Pierce, Saint Rose, and Southern New Hampshire competing.
Kentucky Wesleyan (Owensboro, Kentucky) has decided to discontinue men’s and women’s cross country as well as men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field. The school will also remove men’s bowling and cheer as varsity sports and reclassify them as club sports. The school will have 14 varsity programs after the changes. The school cited the high costs of running the program and lower revenue of from fewer athletes in the impacted sports.
Division 2 Championships Headed to Streaming Platform?
The NCAA is reportedly close to a deal that would see the Division 2 football, men’s and women’s basketball, and volleyball championships streamed on Discovery and Hudl. The semifinals in basketball and football would not be part of the deal due to existing television contracts. Additional details will be revealed once a deal is completed.
RMAC Paywalls Championships
The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) will implement a paywall for conference championships beginning with the current 2023-24 academic year. The RMAC will begin the pay-per-view with the fall sports of men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball but will also include numerous winter and spring sports as well. The RMAC will charge $9.95 per day to view a championship broadcast.
Division 3 Birmingham-Southern’s Future Up in the Air Again
Birmingham-Southern (Birmingham, Alabama) is once again facing the possibility of closure. The state of Alabama has denied the school’s application to receive a loan that would allow it to remain open. The loan program was passed earlier in 2023 after intense lobbying by Birmingham-Southern. The college has also received numerous donations and pledges since the beginning of the year when the financial picture was most dire. BSC’s latest lawsuit to obtain the funds was thrown out by a judge creating even more uncertainty for the school’s future. BSC planned to use the new loan program to remain open for the next three years and attempt to bring more students to campus with fewer than 750 currently enrolled.
D3 Sports Changes
Framingham State (Framingham, Massachusetts) is adding women’s ice hockey beginning with the 2024-25 academic year, which will be the school’s 15th varsity sport. The Rams are a full member of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) but the conference doesn’t sponsor women’s ice hockey. It is not known which conference Framingham State will join.
Greensboro College (Greensboro, North Carolina) is bringing back men’s and women’s cross country beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The college previously discontinued the sports in 2011. Greensboro is a full member of the USA South Atlantic Conference and was the only school without a men’s cross country program. With the addition of women’s cross country, Salem College is the only USA South member without the sport.
LaGrange College (LaGrange, Georgia) is adding two women’s sports beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The Panthers will welcome women’s golf to its sponsored sports and will compete in the USA South Conference. The Panthers will also add women’s flag football although its future conference will be determined later. LaGrange is a full member of the Collegiate Conference of the South (CCS) and the two latest additions push the total number of varsity sports to 18.
Maine Maritime Academy (Castine, Maine) announced the addition of men’s wrestling earlier in 2023 and they have a new home in the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA). The 2024-25 academic year will serve as the inaugural season for men’s wrestling and will also be when Maine Maritime joins the NEWA. MMA is a full member of the North Atlantic Conference, which does not sponsor men’s wrestling.
The University of Mount Union (Alliance, Ohio) is adding women’s wrestling beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Women’s wrestling will be the school’s 25th varsity program and another Ohio Athletic Conference team that sponsors women’s wrestling. The OAC currently doesn’t sponsor the sport but Baldwin Wallace, John Carroll, Mount Union, and Otterbein do sponsor it or will in the near future.
American Rivers Conference Hires New Commissioner
The American Rivers Conference has a new commissioner as A-R-C announced the hiring of Marie Stroman. Stroman was previously the commissioner of the Colonial State Athletic Conference (CSAC), which formally merged with the United East Conference earlier this year. Stroman is replacing former commissioner Dan Hammes, who resigned earlier in 2023. The A-R-C is comprised of 9 private schools with 8 inside the Iowa border and one in Nebraska.
NAIA’s Viterbo Leaving the NSAA
Viterbo University (La Crosse, Wisconsin) is leaving the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) to become a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Viterbo will be the third school to leave the NSAA following the departures of Presentation College (school closed) and Waldorf (joining the GPAC). The NSAA has only 5 members for the 2024-25 academic year and it may not be long until the number drops further. The conference has discussed a potential merger with the Frontier Conference earlier this year. As for the CCAC, they are back at 12 members for 2024-25 as of this article.
NAIA Sports Changes
Hannibal-LaGrange University (Hannibal, Missouri) is adding women’s competitive dance beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. It will be the school’s 12th varsity sport and will participate in 4-5 competitions each year. HLGU is a member of the American Midwest Conference but also participates in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).
Rochester University (Rochester Hills, Michigan) is adding men’s volleyball beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Rochester is a full member of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, which is where they will compete in men’s volleyball.
Texas A&M-Texarkana (Texarkana, Texas) is adding three sports beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The Eagles will add cheer, dance, and esports teams to give the school 14 varsity programs. It is not yet known which conference(s) each team will join. TAMU-Texarkana is a full member of the Red River Athletic Conference.
HAAC Commissioner Steps Down
The Heart of America Athletic Conference commissioner Lori Thomas has decided to resign her position. Thomas ascended to the commissioner spot in 2014 and has seen the HAAC grow by a net of three schools. Avila University left after the 2017-18 academic year while Evangel University left after 2022-23. However, five schools have joined during Thomas’ tenure including William Penn University (2015-16), Grand View University (2015-16), Mount Mercy University (2016-17), Clarke University (2016-17), and Park University (2020-21). The HAAC is hoping to hire a new commissioner and have them start by February 1, 2024.
Photo courtesy of Army Athletics