The University of St. Thomas will be “involuntarily removed” from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) after a period of sustained success.
The private Catholic liberal arts university had proved the dominant force in recent years in the 13-member conference, which they helped found in 1920.
The university have won the past 12 MIAC all-sports trophies for men and women, which are based on their conference finish in each event.
They have also won six MIAC American football titles since 2010.
The university is claimed to have double the number of students as other members of the conference, with 6,200 undergraduates attending.
The MIAC announced the university would gradually be transitioned out of the conference.
“After extensive membership discussions, the University of St. Thomas will be involuntarily removed from membership in the MIAC,” a MIAC statement read.
“The MIAC Presidents' Council cites athletic competitive parity in the conference as a primary concern.
“St. Thomas will begin a multi-year transition immediately and meanwhile is eligible to compete as a full member of the MIAC through to spring 2021.
“St. Thomas is one of seven founding members of the MIAC and will leave the conference in good standing with a long and appreciated history of academic and athletic success.”
St. Thomas claimed it had been committed to staying in the conference.
However, the university claimed other MIAC Presidents had said they would be forced to leave the conference should they remain.
The @MIACathletics has released a statement that we will be involuntarily removed from the league. Grateful for our proud past, excited for a bright future #RollToms #ProudPast #BrightFuture— St. Thomas Athletics (@TommieAthletics) May 22, 2019
MIAC Statement: https://t.co/AhW1tRi4iS
More Information: https://t.co/hJv4Dv6nUZ pic.twitter.com/vfyy4DMZwX
A consensus was reportedly reached that the conference would cease to exist in its current form should they stay.
St. Thomas said they would begin a process to find another conference, where the university’s teams would be able to compete.
“Led by vice president and director of athletics Phil Esten, and involving members of our community, we immediately begin a deliberative process to explore other conferences,” the university said.
“The strength of our athletic programmes, our institutional commitment to excellence and our location in the metro area will make us an attractive candidate to other conferences.
“While our athletic conference will change, one thing will not: our commitment to both academic and athletic excellence.
“Our commitment is to continue to provide excellence in our athletic programs while maintaining our academic standards, as well as prioritising the student-athlete experience.
“An advisory committee led by vice president and director of athletics Phil Esten will review all options, and ultimately, President Julie Sullivan will make a recommendation to our Board of Trustees for their consideration and approval.
“Once we have a sense for what might be the best fit for St. Thomas, we will need to secure an invitation from that particular conference before we can proceed.”