The Summit League

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The Summit League is a NCAA conference that plays in the 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. Four of the five Summit League members that have football teams now play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference; the fifth, North Dakota, will join the MVFC in 2020.

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 nine full members. One member, Purdue Fort Wayne, will leave for the Horizon League after the 2019–20 school year.[1] Purdue Fort Wayne is highlighted in red.

School Location Founded Type Nickname Joined
University of Denver Denver, Colorado 1864 Private Pioneers 2013
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[a]
Purdue University Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, Indiana 1964[b] Public Mastodons 2007
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. Oral Roberts left in 2012 for the Southland Conference, but came back in 2014.
  2. Purdue Fort Wayne (PFW) did not exist until 2018, but inherited its athletic program from Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), founded in 1964. The Purdue University and Indiana University systems folded IPFW in 2018, and each system started its own Fort Wayne campus.[2]

Future member[change | change source]

At the same time Purdue Fort Wayne leaves for the Horizon League, the Summit League will welcome back a former member. The University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC), which had been a conference member from 1994 to 2013, will return under the new athletic identity of Kansas City Roos.[3][4]

School Location Founded Type Nickname Joining
University of Missouri–Kansas City (Kansas City) Kansas City, Missouri 1933 Public Roos 2020

Associate members[change | change source]

The Summit League has four "associate" members—schools that play in a few sports, usually but not always one. One plays three sports in the conference, another plays two, and two 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
Joined Main conference
Drake University Des Moines, Iowa 1881 Private Bulldogs Men's tennis 2017[5] 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[5] Missouri Valley
Valparaiso University Valparaiso, Indiana 1859 Private Crusaders Men's swimming[a]
Men's tennis[b]
2017 (both)[7] Missouri Valley
  1. Valparaiso does not field a diving team.
  2. Valparaiso will fold its men's tennis team after the 2019–20 season.[6]

Former members[change | change source]

No fewer than 22 schools have been full members, but are no longer in the league. One of these former members, namely Kansas City, will return in 2020.

References[change | change source]

  • "The Summit League". Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  1. Horizon League (August 5, 2019). "Purdue University Fort Wayne to Join Horizon League". Press release. Retrieved August 5, 2019. 
  2. "Goodbye IPFW, hello Purdue Fort Wayne". Journal & Courier. Fort Wayne, IN. April 21, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  3. The Summit League (June 20, 2019). "Summit League welcomes back UMKC". Press release. Retrieved June 23, 2019. 
  4. Kansas City Athletics (July 1, 2019). "UMKC Athletics Completes New Brand Identity". Press release. Retrieved July 1, 2019. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Summit League (April 11, 2017). "Summit League Adds Drake and Illinois State as Men’s Tennis Affiliate Members". Press release. Retrieved April 20, 2017. 
  6. Valparaiso University (November 20, 2019). "Valpo Announces Discontinuation of Men’s Soccer, Men’s Tennis Programs". Press release. Retrieved December 30, 2019. 
  7. Valparaiso Crusaders (June 12, 2017). "Valparaiso University to Join Summit League in Men’s Tennis, Men’s Swimming". Press release. Retrieved June 12, 2017.