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 November 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 1Division 2Division 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 ItemRealignment Change / Effective YearCurrent ConferenceNew Conference
2PAC and Mountain WestFootball Scheduling AgreementYes – 2024-25N/AN/A
American ConferenceCommish RetiringNoN/AN/A
American Midwest ConferenceWill Sponsor CheerYes – 2024-25N/AN/A
Bacone CollegeUp For Auction?Possibly – TBDN/AN/A
BarryBeach Volleyball to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D1)Sunshine State (D1)
BarryTrack & Field to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D2)Sunshine State (D2)
Chicago StateJoining NECYes – 2024-25Independent (D1)NEC (D1)
DelawareAdding Women’s HockeyYes – 2025-26N/ACHA (D1)
Dickinson StateLeaving for FrontierYes – 2025-26NSAA (NAIA)Frontier (NSAA)
Division 1New Subdivision ProposalPossibly – TBDN/AN/A
Division 2 Football PlayoffsSuper Regions AdjustedYes – 2025-26N/AN/A
East CentralBringing back Golf teamsYes – 2024-25N/AGAC (D2)
Eastern WashingtonFootball Being Cut?NoN/AN/A
EckerdBeach Volleyball to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D1)Sunshine State (D1)
Embry-RiddleTrack & Field to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Peach Belt (D2)Sunshine State (D2)
Florida SouthernBeach Volleyball to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D1)Sunshine State (D1)
Florida SouthernTrack & Field to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D2)Sunshine State (D2)
HartfordAdding 2 SportsYes – 2025-26N/ACCC (D3)
LindenwoodCutting 10 SportsYes – 2024-25Multiple (D1)N/A
LynnTrack & Field to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D2)Sunshine State (D2)
Nova SoutheasternTrack & Field to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Peach Belt (D2)Sunshine State (D2)
Palm Beach AtlanticBeach Volleyball to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D1)Sunshine State (D1)
Palm Beach AtlanticTrack & Field to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D2)Sunshine State (D2)
Saint LeoBeach Volleyball to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D1)Sunshine State (D1)
Saint LeoTrack & Field to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D2)Sunshine State (D2)
Saint Mary’s (CA)Women’s Indoor T&F New ConferenceYes – 2023-24Independent (D1)MPSF (D1)
Southern ConferenceExpansion HopesNoN/AN/A
Sunshine State ConferenceSponsoring Two SportsYes – 2024-25N/AN/A
TampaBeach Volleyball to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D1)Sunshine State (D1)
TampaTrack & Field to Sunshine StateYes – 2024-25Independent (D2)Sunshine State (D2)

NCAA Proposes New Subdivision

The NCAA has proposed a radical change to college athletics in Division 1 with the possible creation of a new subdivision. The subdivision would remain in the NCAA but have higher minimum requirements for schools to be able to participate in. The idea is to put the higher resource programs together without having to adhere to all the needs and wants of smaller D1 schools. There is no timeline for when this model will begin and there are many issues to discuss along with previously unforeseen ones like the transfer rules that have been changed temporarily (and possibly permanently).

Chicago State Joining Northeast Conference

Chicago State will join the NEC beginning with the 2024-25 academic year after two years as an independent. The Cougars will be a full member of the NEC and become the conference’s eighth full member after the recent departures of Merrimack and Sacred Heart. With Chicago State moving to the NEC, there will be no fully independent schools in Division 1.

Southern Conference Hopes to Expand

One realignment nugget that was possibly missed by some when the NCAA dropped news of its proposal was the Southern Conference’s hope to expand its membership. East Tennessee State athletic director Richard Sander publically stated that they and Chattanooga would like to expand but some elements of the conference are not as keen on the idea. So which schools might the SoCon target? According to Sam Herder of Hero Sports, Elon and William & Mary could be in the fold. Richmond is another possibility and they may not be happy to see the likes of Delaware and James Madison leave for the FBS while the CAA added programs not as strong as UD and JMU.

2PAC and Mountain West Have Football Scheduling Agreement; Joining Basketball Forces?

The 2PAC and Mountain West have announced a football scheduling agreement for the 2024 season. The Mountain West will play only 7 conference games with an eighth game against either Oregon State or Washington State. As noted before, neither Oregon State nor Washington State games will count in the MWC standings and neither school will be eligible for the MW Championship game. As part of the agreement, the 2PAC schools will pay $14 million to the Mountain West and similar agreements could happen for non-football sports as well.

The two schools are currently discussing the possibility of joining the Mountain West in basketball as well according to Jon Rothstein but nothing is imminent. It is looking more and more likely that the 2PAC schools and MW will merge in the future under the Pac-12 brand with OSU and WSU now firmly in control of the Pac-12 assets but nothing is guaranteed when it comes to realignment.

Eastern Washington Football Hawks Circle Again

Eastern Washington is facing financial issues and football is among the possible targets for a budget cut. This topic has been discussed before at EWU but it is unlikely to be affected according to the Board of Trustees. The football program has been a frequent target over the past decade but the ongoing financial difficulties cannot be ignored and may result in other sports or academic programs being discontinued.

American Athletic Conference’s Mike Aresco Retiring

Mike Aresco will retire from his position as American Athletic Conference commissioner following the 2023-24 academic year. Aresco was previously in charge of the old Big East Conference before it was reorganized as the American Athletic Conference beginning in 2013-14. The AAC has been a frequent realignment target with Louisville and Rutgers leaving after one year in the AAC and Connecticut leaving after 7 years (2020). More recently, the AAC lost Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF to the Big 12 in 2023 while SMU is departing to the ACC in 2024. Aresco reloaded with Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB, and UTSA in 2023 to offset the other losses and will welcome Army to the fold beginning in 2024-25.

D1 Sports Changes

Delaware is adding women’s hockey beginning with the 2025-26 academic year. The Blue Hens will join the College Hockey America (CHA) conference, which has current members Lindenwood, Mercyhurst, Penn State, Robert Morris, RIT, and Syracuse. The sport was added to maintain Title IX compliance as a result of Delaware’s announced move to the FBS, which will begin in 2025-26.

Lindenwood (Saint Charles, Missouri) is discontinuing 10 sports beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Six men’s sports (lacrosse, swimming and diving, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and wrestling), three women’s sports (field hockey, women’s gymnastics, and swimming and diving), and one co-ed sport (men’s and women’s cycling) are the casualties. Lindenwood is a full member of the Ohio Valley Conference and recently moved up to Division 1 beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. Despite the high number of cuts, the school will sponsor 7 men’s sports, 12 women’s sports, and 13 SLS sports (those that are not part of the NCAA). For additional insight into why Lindenwood cut so many sports, Matt Brown of Extra Points has an article on the topic.

Saint Mary’s (CA) women’s indoor track and field program will move to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) beginning with the current 2023-24 academic year. The Gaels previously competed as an independent school in 2022-23, which was the first season of the program. Saint Mary’s is a full member of the West Coast Conference.

D2 Sports Changes

East Central University (Ada, Oklahoma) is bringing back its men’s and women’s golf programs beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The teams were discontinued in 2016. East Central is a full member of the Great American Conference, which is where the golf teams will compete. The GAC will have 11 men’s golf programs while the women’s side will have 8 programs.

The Sunshine State Conference will begin sponsoring beach volleyball and outdoor track (men’s and women’s) beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Barry, Eckerd, Florida Southern, Palm Beach Atlantic, Saint Leo, and Tampa currently sponsor beach volleyball and compete as independents (women’s beach volleyball is a Division 1 sport while the Sunshine State Conference is associated with Division 2). For track and field, Embry-Riddle and Nova Southeastern compete in the Peach Belt Conference while Florida Southern, Lynn, Palm Beach Atlantic, Saint Leo, and Tampa compete as Division 2 independents. Barry is adding track and field for the 2023-24 academic year.

The Division 2 Football Championship will see a realignment change beginning with the 2025 season. The Conference Carolinas will begin sponsoring football that season to give the Division 2 committee 16 conferences to allocate into Super Regions (one more than the current 15). The new Super Regions are provided below with the changes listed first.

Super RegionConferenceConferenceConferenceConference
(Moved from Super Region 2)
Mountain EastNortheast-10PSAC
2Conference Carolinas
Gulf SouthSouth AtlanticSIAC
3Great Midwest
(Moved from Super Region 1)
Northern Sun
(Moved from Super Region 4)
4Great American
(Moved from Super Region 3)
(Moved from Super Region 3)
Lone StarRocky Mountain

D3 Sports Changes

Hartford (West Hartford, Connecticut) is adding field hockey and tennis (men’s and women’s) programs to its sponsored sports. Both programs will begin varsity competition starting with the 2025-26 academic year. Hartford is a full member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, which sponsors both field hockey and tennis.

NAIA Sports Changes

The American Midwest Conference will sponsor competitive cheer as a sport beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The inaugural season will be contested by Columbia College (Columbia, Missouri), Cottey College (Nevada, Missouri), Missouri Baptist University (Creve Coeur, Missouri), University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy (St. Louis, Missouri), Williams Baptist University (Walnut Ridge, Arkansas), and William Woods University (Fulton, Missouri).

Bacone College Up For Auction

Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma was scheduled to be up for auction as a result of unpaid debts. The school was put into a Sherrif’s auction in which the buyer of the property would be able to determine Bacone’s future. The auction was put on hold a few hours before it was scheduled to happen but the uncertainty around the school has grown with 45 instructors laid off. Bacone is a private university that serves primarily American Indians.

Dickinson State Leaving NSAA

Dickinson State (Dickinson, North Dakota) will leave the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) to join the Frontier Conference beginning with the 2025-26 academic year. The move will leave the NSAA with only four full members while the Frontier Conference will be up to 7 members. The latest announcement only increases the worries surrounding the NSAA’s future. DSU was previously a member of the Frontier Conference from 2012 through 2014 and left to join the NSAA.

Photo courtesy of Michigan Athletics

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