The Summit League

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The Summit League is a NCAA conference that plays in NCAA Division I. The member universities and colleges are in the Midwestern United States, plus one member in Colorado. Their headquarters are in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, having moved from the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois in 2018.

The league once sponsored football, but dropped the sport after the 1984 season. Five Summit League members have football teams; all play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

History[change | change source]

The Summit League was founded in 1982 as the Association of Mid-Continent Universities (AMCU or AMCU-8) with eight members. The only one of these schools that is still a member is Western Illinois. In 1989, the AMCU changed its name to the Mid-Continent Conference, or MCC (those initials, however, were also being used by the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, now the Horizon League).

The Mid-Continent saw many changes in the first part of the 1990s, with the biggest coming in 1992 and 1994. In 1992, the conference added women's sports after it absorbed the North Star Conference, a league that only sponsored women's sports. Then in 1994, six schools (including three charter members) left for the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. They were replaced by six other schools, five of them coming from the collapsed East Coast Conference. None of the schools that joined in 1994 are now in the league.

Since the 1994 changes, the conference has had anywhere from 8 to 10 members. It changed its name to The Summit League in 2007.

Members[change | change source]

The Summit League now has 10 full members. The most recent change in membership took place in 2021, when the University of St. Thomas, located in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area, joined the conference to start an unprecedented move from NCAA Division III directly to Division I.

School Location Founded Type Nickname Joined
University of Denver Denver, Colorado 1864 Private Pioneers 2013
University of Missouri–Kansas City (Kansas City) Kansas City, Missouri 1933 Public Roos[a] 1994, 2020[b]
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, North Dakota 1890 Public Fighting Hawks 2018
North Dakota State University Fargo, North Dakota 1890 Public Bison 2007
University of Nebraska Omaha (Omaha) Omaha, Nebraska 1908 Public Mavericks 2012
Oral Roberts University Tulsa, Oklahoma 1963 Private Golden Eagles 1997, 2014[c]
University of St. Thomas Saint Paul, Minnesota 1885 Private Tommies 2021
University of South Dakota Vermillion, South Dakota 1862 Public Coyotes 2011
South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota 1881 Public Jackrabbits 2007
Western Illinois University Macomb, Illinois 1899 Public Leathernecks 1982
  1. The university changed its athletic identity from UMKC Kangaroos to Kansas City Roos in 2019. The university name has not changed, and the school still markets itself as UMKC outside of sports.[1]
  2. Kansas City (UMKC) left in 2013 for the Western Athletic Conference and returned in 2020.[2]
  3. Oral Roberts left in 2012 for the Southland Conference and returned in 2014.

Associate members[change | change source]

The Summit League has five "associate" members—schools that play in a few sports, usually but not always one. One plays three sports in the conference and three more house one sport in the conference. (Note that the NCAA counts men's and women's teams in the same sport as playing two different sports, and also considers swimming and diving to be a single sport.)

School Location Founded Type Nickname Summit League
sports
Joined Main conference
Drake University Des Moines, Iowa 1881 Private Bulldogs Men's tennis 2017[3] Missouri Valley
Eastern Illinois University Charleston, Illinois 1895 Public Panthers Men's soccer
Men's swimming and diving
Women's swimming and diving
2005 (swimming/diving)
2011 (soccer)
Ohio Valley
Illinois State University Normal, Illinois 1857 Public Redbirds Men's tennis 2017[3] Missouri Valley
University of Northern Colorado Greeley, Colorado 1889 Public Bears Baseball 2021[4] Big Sky
Valparaiso University Valparaiso, Indiana 1859 Private Beacons Men's swimming[a] 2017[5] Missouri Valley
  1. Valparaiso does not field a diving team.

Former members[change | change source]

No fewer than 22 schools have been full members, but are no longer in the league.

References[change | change source]

  • "The Summit League". summitleague.org. Retrieved 2014-07-28.