Why does Minnesota only have one division 1 program in major sports (fb and bb)?


Apr 15, 2019
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History in the Making: Basketball in the North Star State
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Linked From Here

Monday, January 14, 2013Time for St. Thomas to Move On Up!?
Random thoughts while watching the St. Thomas men demolish St. John's 94-63 in a game in which everyone agreed that St. John's played well....

90 years ago Carleton was the powerhouse of Minnesota small college athletics. After 6 straight MCC (the forerunner of the MIAC) basketball titles and similar success in football, Carleton went in search of tougher competition, joining the Midwest Conference featuring schools like Coe and Beloit and Grinnell. It would be about 50 years before the Knights would come back to the MIAC, their glory years by then far in the rear-view mirror.

Today it is St. Thomas that is the 800-pound gorilla of Minnesota small college athletics. In basketball, the Tommies men have won or shared 7 straight conference titles and won a total of 31 such titles, 8 more than anybody else, through the years. They're 71-3 in the conference since 2006, and St. Thomas won the national title in 2011.

The Tommies women, meanwhile, have won 13 MIAC titles, tying with St. Ben's for the most in conference history. They've won 2 straight, and made the NCAA D3 Final Four last year.

And so it goes, in sport after sport after sport.

Men's Sports

Baseball--31 conference titles, #1 all-time in the MIAC, with 9 in a row and a 224-36 record in the 21st century.

Cross-Country--24 titles, #1

Ice Hockey--28 titles, #1

Indoor Track--27 titles, #1. Oh, and the MIAC has had indoor track competition for, ah, 27 years. The Tommies are 27-for-27.

Outdoor Track--29 titles, #1, including 24 of the past 29.

Then there's football (16 titles, #4, but 3 in a row and national runner-up this past fall), Golf (9 titles, #4), Swimming (10 titles, #4), Soccer (6 titles, #4) and Tennis (9 titles, #7). In only Soccer and Tennis has there not been a title in the 21st century.

Women's Sports

Cross-Country--15 titles, #1

Indoor Track--24 titles, #1, 12 in a row and 24 of 27 overall

Outdoor Track--27 titles, #1, 7 in a row and 27 of 30

Softball--17 titles, #1, 10 of the past 12

Volleyball--13 titles, #1

Golf--8 titles #2

Hockey--2 titles, #2

Tennis--1 title, #3

Soccer--4 titles, #4

Swimming--no titles


Then there's the fact that St. Thomas has almost twice the enrollment of the MIAC's next largest universities with 6,800 undergraduate students (plus another 4,000 graduate students, but for athletic purposes, they don't count). Next best are St. Catherine's at 3,800 and Bethel at 3,500. Granted, this is a little misleading, as St. Kate's enrollment is 97 percent women, so for women, St. Thomas is the 2nd largest. For men, it is the largest by a good margin with about 3,300. St. John's has just 1,900. It and Bethel are pretty close for #2.

St. Thomas 6,300 undergraduates (plus 4,000 graduate students)
St. Catherine's 3,800 undergrads (mostly women)
Bethel 3,500 (plus 3,000 graduate students)
Augsburg 3,200 (plus 900)
St. Olaf 3,200
Concordia (Moorhead) 2,600
Gustavus 2,500
St. Ben's 2,100 (all women)
Carleton, Hamline, Macalester, St. Mary's about 2,000 (St. Mary's has 3,200 grad students, Hamline 2,900)
St. John's 1,900 (all men)

Concordia (St. Paul) (D2) for comparison 1,700

Show Me the Money

Then there's the little matter of money, as measured by the endowment funds. These are a big help with facilties, for example. Is it a coincidence that St. Thomas and Macalester have shiny new basketball arenas?

Macalester $665 million (acc. to US News)
Carleton $645 million (acc. to the school)
St. Thomas $335 (acc. to US News), $408 (acc. to the school), $557 (acc. to Wikipedia)
St. Olaf $327 (the school), $345 (US News and Wikipedia)

St. John's $144 (US News)
Gustavus $109 (US News)
Concordia (Moorhead) $83 (US News)
Hamline $76 (US News, Wikipedia)
St. Kate's $55 (US News)
St. Mary's $45 (US News)
St. Ben's $45 (US News), $38 (Wikipedia)
Augsburg $33 (US News)
Bethel $25 (US News)

Concordia (St.Paul) for comparison $22 (US News)

MIAC + Concordia St. Paul Average: Enrollment 2,600 Endowment $195M


Who is St. Thomas like? The following are all Roman Catholic affiliated. All are D1 in basketball. Many do not have football.

St. Thomas 6,300 undergrad enrollment, classified as a National University and rated #113 in its class, with an endowment of $400 to $500 million

Chicago Loyola 9,800 National University #106, $388 million
Boston College 9,000 National U #31, 1,756M
St. Louis 8,600 National U #92, $880M
Marquette 8,400, National U #83, $400M
Georgetown 7,600, National U #21, $1,162M
Duquesne 5,600 National U #120, $171M
St. Joseph's 5,500, Regional U #8, $173M
Seton Hall 5,100 National U #131, $232M
Xavier 4,500 Regional University #4, $120M
LaSalle 4,500 Regional U #41, $73M
Creighton 4,150 Regional U #1, $300M
Providence 3,850 Regional U #4, $165M
Holy Cross 2,900 National Liberal Arts College #32, $600M

Average D1 Basketball, Not Football: 5,750 enroll, or about 500 less than St. Thomas. $360M endow, or about 10 percent less than St. Thomas.


More about football via link...
Come in peace, but believe St Thomas has asked to be kicked out of the MIAC to better engage their fans for a move to a higher level. Their fans need to be totally in o. A move up, and the MIAC giving them the boot would raise untold $s toward higher levels competition.

Just being DII would allow St Thomas to take both M/W hockey DI. Their have an arena in Mendota Heights that was designed to be expandable as it only has seating on one side.

DII probably isn’t their plan for the long term, as St Thomas resembles schools like Valpo, Drake, Loyola or even Creighton and Marquette. Good private schools don’t stay DII as DI would bring so much more publicity outside MSP even if they lose.

A recent tommiemedia article by a student cautioned against going DII or higher, so there must have been talk about that earlier. Sid Hartman mentioned that St Thomas was ripe for a DI move 20 years ago.

A DI move would require at least eight years at DII, as only schools that are DII may move to DI with a specific five year requirement as a full DII member. The transition takes three years and the MVC needs more private DI schools in the area and they would love to have telecasts in MSP. The DII Northern Sun conference will likely lose Augustana soon, and St Thomas could slide in that spot.

St Thomas could be like Creighton and get a Big East spot if it goes DI and wins.

But hockey going DI right away is what the immediate prize is. All the Minn regionals have more or less equaled the gophers lately and St Thomas’s name would grow exponentially just based on that. Any MIAC school wouldn’t tolerate DII for long, as that is mainly smaller regional schools that are less exclusive.

Don’t think football would go the scholarship route at DI, but they would have to at DII. Drake and Valpo have non scholarship fb just for homecoming celebrations and enrollment. UST sponsoring DI lacrosse would make them a local hero.

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