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 December 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 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
All SchoolsNCAA Transfer Policy ChangeDoesn’t Impact RealignmentN/AN/A
Anna MariaWomen’s Hockey Moving ConferencesYes – 2024-25ECHA (D3)MASCAC (D3)
D3 ChampionshipsMen’s Hockey ExpandingNoN/AN/A
Florida StateChallenging ACC’s GoRNot YetN/AN/A
Framingham StateWomen’s Hockey Moving ConferencesYes – 2024-25N/A (New Program)MASCAC (D3)
Hope InternationalAdding CheerYes – 2024-25N/ANAIA
MCLAWomen’s Hockey Moving ConferencesYes – 2024-25ECHA (D3)MASCAC (D3)
Mississippi University for WomenTennis Joining UMACYes – 2023-24USCAAUMAC (D3)
Oregon StateJoining WCC in Most SportsYes – 2024-25Pac-12 (D1)WCC (D1)
RivierWomen’s Hockey Moving ConferencesYes – 2024-25ECHA (D3)MASCAC (D3)
Salem StateWomen’s Hockey Moving ConferencesYes – 2025-26NEHC (D3)MASCAC (D3)
Salem University (WV)Three New SportsYes – 2024-25N/ATBD (D2)
StanfordNot Cutting SportsNoN/AN/A
Washington StateJoining WCC in Most SportsYes – 2024-25Pac-12 (D1)WCC (D1)
Worcester StateWomen’s Hockey Moving ConferencesYes – 2024-25ECHA (D3)MASCAC (D3)

Florida State Challenges the ACC and the Grant of Rights

Florida State’s frustrations have reached a boiling point. The school filed a legal complaint against the ACC to challenge the Grant of Rights agreement from 2016. Essentially, Florida State is looking for a way out and they believe this is the best way to do so (maybe their only option if they want out ASAP?). Michael McCann provides some legal analysis but we took a look at how FSU and the ACC reached this point as well. In terms of realignment, FSU’s action has an uncertain impact in the long term as a legal battle will take a while to sort out.

More NCAA Transfer Policy Change

The NCAA is expected to change the transfer policy in the wake of legal challenges. The biggest change would be removing the one-year penalty for athletes who are transferring for a second time. This would not apply to graduate transfers but the NCAA is looking to ensure any grad transfers have at least 9 credit hours to be eligible (up from six). There is even talk about eliminating the waiver process that has seemingly become arbitrary with recent NCAA rulings.

D1 Sports Changes

The duo of Oregon State and Washington State will join the West Coast Conference (WCC) in most sports for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 academic years. The two schools already have a football scheduling agreement with the Mountain West for 2024. Both schools will be eligible for WCC titles including the automatic bid to the NCAA championships such as March Madness for men’s basketball. It remains to be seen how the two schools will utilize $250 million in leftover Pac-12 assets they now control but the short-term concerns have been addressed.

Stanford says it will not cut any sports despite its move to the ACC beginning in 2024-25, which will see its TV revenues fall and travel expenses rise. In 2020, Stanford announced it would cut 11 sports but backtracked in May 2021. We shall see if Stanford upholds this commitment after a few years in the ACC.

D2 Sports Changes

Salem University (Salem, West Virginia) is adding three sports beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. Men’s and women’s swimming will return after not being offered for the 2023-24 academic year while men’s wrestling will be making its debut. All three sports will compete at the Division 2 level although which conference(s), if any, is not clear. Salem competes as a Division 2 independent team in a majority of sports.

D3 Sports Changes

The men’s ice hockey championship will expand from 12 teams to 13 teams beginning with the current 2023-24 academic year. The NCAA Division 3 Championships Committee will discuss further changes to other championships including a possible expansion to the football championship beyond its current 32-team size.

The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) will begin sponsoring women’s hockey in 2024-25. The inaugural season will see Anna Maria, Framingham State, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), Rivier, and Worcester State compete for the conference crown. Anna Maria, MCLA, Rivier, and Worcester State will leave the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association (ECHA) while Framingham State is starting a new program. Salem State will leave the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) and join the following year in 2025-26 to give the MASCAC six members.

The Mississippi University for Women (Columbus, Mississippi) will join the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) in men’s and women’s tennis beginning with the 2023-24 academic year. The MUW tennis programs previously competed in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCA). MUW joined the NCAA Division 3 ranks this academic year and is a full member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC).

NAIA Sports Changes

Hope International (Fullerton, California) will add a cheer team beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. The school currently sponsors the related sports of competitive dance and STUNT. HIU is a full member of the Golden State Athletic Conference.

Photo courtesy of Florida State Athletics

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