|Formerly||Association of Mid-Continent Universities (1982–1989)|
Mid-Continent Conference (1989–2007)
|Founded||June 18, 1982|
|Commissioner||Josh Fenton (since 2021)|
|No. of teams||10 full (6 associates)|
|Headquarters||Sioux Falls, South Dakota|
The Summit League, or The Summit, is an NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletic conference with its membership mostly located in the Midwestern United States from Illinois on the East of the Mississippi River to the Dakotas and Nebraska on the West, with additional members in the Western state of Colorado and the Southern state of Oklahoma. Founded as the Association of Mid-Continent Universities in 1982, it rebranded as the Mid-Continent Conference in 1989, then again as the Summit League on June 1, 2007. The league headquarters are in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The membership currently consists of 10 full members plus six associate members. The most recent change in the core conference membership is the 2021 arrival of the University of St. Thomas, which began an unprecedented transition from NCAA Division III to Division I. A year earlier, the University of Missouri–Kansas City returned as a full member after a seven-year absence with the new athletic identity of the Kansas City Roos, while Purdue University Fort Wayne left for the Horizon League. A total of 32 schools have been full members, but the only charter member remaining in the league today is Western Illinois University.
The conference can trace its roots back to 1978, when the Mid-Continent Athletic Association was founded as a football-only conference playing in Division II at the time. Its inaugural members were the University of Akron, Eastern Illinois University, University of Northern Iowa, Northern Michigan University, Western Illinois University, and Youngstown State University; Wayne State University had also expressed interest in joining, but ultimately never did. Akron left after the 1979 season, while Northern Michigan and Youngstown State left the following year; they were replaced by Southwest Missouri State (now known as Missouri State University) in 1981. The 1981 season also saw the conference as a whole move from Division II to Division I-AA; this would be the conference's final season under the name of the Mid-Continent Athletic Association.
The new association was officially created on June 18, 1982, at the O'Hare Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois as the Association of Mid-Continent Universities (or AMCU or AMCU-8, pronounced Am-cue), which it was known as until 1989. Covering all men's sports now in addition to football, the new conference consisted of current MCAA members Northern Iowa, Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois University and Southwest Missouri State, along with non-football sponsoring Cleveland State University, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Valparaiso University. The conference continued to sponsor football, now under the new AMCU name, from 1982 until 1984 at the Division I-AA level (now Division I FCS); and current members North Dakota, North Dakota State, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Western Illinois, and St. Thomas have FCS football programs.
The conference saw its first changes in the early 1990s. Southwest Missouri State departed for membership in the Missouri Valley Conference as the University of Akron and Northern Illinois University joined in 1990. Then Wright State University joined in 1991 as Northern Iowa followed Southwest Missouri State to the MVC.
Major changes came to the conference in 1992. First, Akron left for the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and another Ohio school, Youngstown State University, replaced it. More significantly, the Mid-Continent added women's sports by absorbing the North Star Conference (NSC), a women's-only league whose final seven members were in the Mid-Continent. All of the final NSC members except for Akron moved their women's sports into the Mid-Continent. At the same time, Eastern Illinois and Western Illinois moved their women's sports into the Mid-Continent when their former women's sports home, the Gateway Conference, merged into the Missouri Valley Conference. The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee joined the Mid-Continent a year later.
In 1994, charter members Cleveland State, UIC, and Green Bay, as well as newer members Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Northern Illinois, and Wright State left the conference to join the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, now known as the Horizon League.
The Mid-Continent absorbed Central Connecticut State University, Chicago State University, the University at Buffalo, Troy State University (now Troy University), and Northeastern Illinois University from the collapsed East Coast Conference in response. None of these institutions remain in the league.
Missouri-Kansas City, formerly an independent, also joined the Mid-Continent Conference in 1994.
Eastern Illinois moved to the Ohio Valley Conference in 1996, reducing membership to nine programs. Troy State departed for the Trans America Athletic Conference while Central Connecticut joined the Northeast Conference in 1997. Buffalo joined the MAC in 1998 while Northeastern Illinois ceased intercollegiate athletics at that time. Oral Roberts University and Southern Utah University replaced the former pair while Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Oakland University moved into the latter duo's spots a year later.
Youngstown State switched to the Horizon League in 2001, and Centenary College replaced it in 2003. Chicago State University announced in the spring of 2006 that it would withdraw from the conference to compete as an independent starting in the 2006–07 school year. Charter member Valparaiso then moved to the Horizon in 2007.
Conference expansion was discussed at length at the Mid-Continent Conference annual Presidents Council meeting in 2006, and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW, now Purdue Fort Wayne), North Dakota State, and South Dakota State were approved for site visits. On August 30, 2006, IPFW accepted an invitation to join the Mid-Continent Conference as a full member starting July 1, 2007. Both North Dakota State and South Dakota State also accepted invitations to join the conference the next day.
The Summit League continued its renewed expansion push with the admission of the University of South Dakota. The Coyotes began conference play in the 2011–12 academic year and become eligible for all championships the following season. Centenary College subsequently announced that it would leave the Summit League following the 2010–2011 campaign.
The University of North Dakota had also been openly rumored to have been courted by the Summit League, but controversy over the Fighting Sioux nickname in all likelihood prevented UND's admission at that time. Expectations that UND would join the Summit League came to an end on November 1, 2010, when North Dakota instead accepted an invitation to join the Big Sky Conference. The University of South Dakota entered into very brief negotiations to join the Big Sky as well, rather than continuing their plans to join the Summit. However, South Dakota chose instead to remain with the more compact Summit League (along with other Dakota schools, NDSU and SDSU). As the University of Nebraska Omaha began the transition to Division I athletics in all sports, it joined the Summit League on July 1, 2012. With the departures of Centenary to Division III at the end of the 2010–11 athletic year, and Southern Utah and Oral Roberts for other Division I conferences at the end of the 2011–12 athletic year, the Summit League continued with nine institutions, all within the Midwest geographical region.
The conference unveiled the University of Denver (DU) as its 10th member on November 27, 2012, and the Pioneers joined in July 2013. While Denver is slightly outside The Summit's current Midwestern base, the city's status as a major air hub seemingly minimized travel issues for the other members. With Denver among the eight of ten WAC members switching to other conferences, that league searched for new members. UMKC announced on February 7, 2013, that it would be one of six schools joining the WAC for the 2013–14 season, dropping the Summit league back to nine member schools. Membership fell to eight schools on May 7, 2013, when Oakland announced that it was joining the Horizon League. Eight of the nine then-current Horizon League programs were former Summit League members with Oakland's move (the Horizon has since added two more members that were never in The Summit League, Northern Kentucky and Robert Morris, as well as another former Summit member in Purdue Fort Wayne).
In December 2013, The Summit League office announced that Oral Roberts University returned to the conference in all sports, effective July 1, 2014.
The next changes to the conference's core membership were announced in 2017. First, on January 26, North Dakota, which had resolved its controversy by selecting the new nickname Fighting Hawks, unveiled as a new member beginning in 2018. Then, on June 28, IUPUI announced it would leave the conference to join the Horizon League effective July 1, 2017.
For much of 2018, speculation involving further league expansion focused on Augustana University, a Division II school located in the Summit's headquarters city of Sioux Falls. Many of the school's boosters have ties to Sanford Health, a hospital company that has long been a major league sponsor and also owns the office complex that houses the league headquarters. The university announced on December 14 that it would start a transition to Division I, though stating at the time that no such move would take place until at least 2021. However, on May 22, 2020, the Summit League commissioner, Tom Douple, informed Augustana president Stephanie Herseth Sandlin that the conference would not be adding more new teams "at this time." The conference expanded anyway, announcing in June 2019 that UMKC would return in 2020 after a seven-year absence. However, shortly thereafter, Purdue Fort Wayne announced its 2020 departure for the Horizon League, maintaining the full-time conference membership at nine schools. Then, on October 4, 2019, the University of St. Thomas, a Minnesota school that was set to be expelled from its longtime athletic home of the NCAA Division III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in 2021, announced that it received an invitation to join the Summit upon its MIAC departure. St. Thomas eventually received a waiver of an NCAA rule mandating that Division III schools can only transition to Division II, allowing the school to move directly to D-I on the originally announced schedule.
Shortly before St. Thomas' future conference membership was confirmed, the University of Northern Colorado was announced as a baseball-only member effective in 2021–22. The most recent change to the affiliate membership was announced on May 11, 2022, when Lindenwood University and the University of Southern Indiana were announced as new affiliates in men's soccer plus men's and women's swimming & diving effective in 2022–23. Both institutions began transitions from Division II as new members of the Ohio Valley Conference, which does not sponsor any of these schools' Summit League sports, in July 2022. Southern Indiana is starting its swimming & diving program for both sexes in 2022–23.
|University of Denver||Denver, Colorado||1864||2013||Private||14,130||$711,345,798||Pioneers|
|University of Missouri–Kansas City||Kansas City, Missouri||1933||1994
|University of Nebraska Omaha||Omaha, Nebraska||1908||2012||Public||15,328||$72,000,000||Mavericks|
|University of North Dakota||Grand Forks, North Dakota||1883||2018||Public||13,772||$366,100,000||Fighting Hawks|
|North Dakota State University||Fargo, North Dakota||1890||2007||Public||12,461||$457,000,000||Bison|
|Oral Roberts University||Tulsa, Oklahoma||1963||1997
|University of St. Thomas||Saint Paul, Minnesota||1885||2021||Private||9,347||$537,000,000||Tommies|
|University of South Dakota||Vermillion, South Dakota||1862||2011||Public||9,464||$213,560,000||Coyotes|
|South Dakota State University||Brookings, South Dakota||1881||2007||Public||11,465||$135,700,000||Jackrabbits|
|Western Illinois University||Macomb, Illinois||1899||1982[d]||Public||7,455||$32,134,249||Leathernecks|
|Drake University||Des Moines, Iowa||1881||2017–18||Private||4,875||Bulldogs||MVC||Men's tennis|
|Eastern Illinois University||Charleston, Illinois||1895||2005–06||Public||8,608||Panthers||OVC||Swimming & diving|
|Illinois State University||Normal, Illinois||1857||2017–18||Public||20,233||Redbirds||MVC||Men's tennis|
|Lindenwood University||St. Charles, Missouri||1827||2022–23||Private||7,003||Lions||OVC||Men's soccer|
Men's and women's swimming & diving
|University of Northern Colorado||Greeley, Colorado||1889||2021–22||Public||10,348||Bears||Big Sky||Baseball|
|University of Southern Indiana||Evansville, Indiana||1965||2022–23||Public||7,938||Screaming Eagles||OVC||Men's soccer|
Men's and women's swimming & diving
All institutional names and nicknames used reflect those in the final school year of conference membership.
The Summit League has 22 former members.
|University of Akron||Akron, Ohio||1870||Public||29,251||1990||1992||Zips||Mid-American (MAC)|
|University at Buffalo||Buffalo, New York||1846||Public||28,601||1994||1998||Bulls||Mid-American (MAC)|
|Centenary College of Louisiana||Shreveport, Louisiana||1825||Private||787||2003||2011||Gentlemen (men's)
(NCAA Division III)
|Central Connecticut State University||New Britain, Connecticut||1849||Public||11,360||1994||1997||Blue Devils||Northeast (NEC)|
|Chicago State University||Chicago, Illinois||1867||Public||3,578||1994||2006||Cougars||NCAA D-I Independent|
|Cleveland State University||Cleveland, Ohio||1964||Public||17,204||1982[a]||1994||Vikings||Horizon|
|Eastern Illinois University||Charleston, Illinois||1895||Public||11,651||1982[b]||1996||Panthers||OVC|
|University of Illinois Chicago||Chicago, Illinois||1858||Public||28,091||1982[a]||1994||Flames||Horizon||Missouri Valley|
|Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis[c]||Indianapolis, Indiana||1969||Public||27,184||1998||2017||Jaguars||Horizon|
|Northeastern Illinois University||Chicago, Illinois||1867||Public||11,149||1994||1998||Golden Eagles||Discontinued intercollegiate athletics|
|Northern Illinois University||DeKalb, Illinois||1895||Public||25,313||1990[a]||1994||Huskies||Horizon||Mid-American (MAC)|
|University of Northern Iowa||Cedar Falls, Iowa||1876||Public||11,147||1982||1991||Panthers||Missouri Valley|
|Oakland University||Rochester, Michigan||1957||Public||19,379||1998||2013||Golden Grizzlies||Horizon|
|Purdue University Fort Wayne||Fort Wayne, Indiana||1964[d]||Public||10,139||2007||2020||Mastodons||Horizon|
|Southern Utah University||Cedar City, Utah||1897||Public||8,297||1997||2012||Thunderbirds||Big Sky||WAC|
|Southwest Missouri State University[e]||Springfield, Missouri||1905||Public||21,059||1982||1990||Bears (men's)
Lady Bears (women's)
|Troy State University[f]||Troy, Alabama||1887||Public||29,689||1994||1997||Trojans||TAAC||Sun Belt|
|University of Wisconsin–Green Bay||Green Bay, Wisconsin||1965||Public||6,700||1982[a]||1994||Phoenix||Horizon|
|University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||1885||Public||30,502||1993||1994||Panthers||Horizon|
|Valparaiso University||Valparaiso, Indiana||1859||Private||4,061||1982[a]||2007||Crusaders[g]||Horizon||Missouri Valley|
|Wright State University||Fairborn, Ohio||1967||Public||17,789||1991[a]||1994||Raiders||Horizon|
|Youngstown State University||Youngstown, Ohio||1908||Public||15,194||1992||2001||Penguins||Horizon|
|University of Akron||Akron, Ohio||1870||Public||10,378||1978-79||1979-80||Zips||Independent||MAC||Football|
|DePaul University||Chicago, Illinois||1898||Private||24,414||1992–93||1998–99||Blue Demons||Great Midwest, C-USA[b]||Big East||Softball|
|Howard University||Washington, D.C.||1867||Private||10,000||1996–97||1998–99||Bison||MEAC||NEC[c]||Men's soccer|
|C.W. Post of Long Island University||Brookville, New York||1954||Public||8,472||1994–95||1997–98||Pioneers||East Coast (ECC)
(NCAA Division II)
|New York Institute of Technology||New York, New York||1955||Private||13,000||1994–95||1997–98||Bears||East Coast (ECC)
(NCAA Division II)[e]
|Northern Michigan University||Marquette, Michigan||1899||Public||6,764||1978-79||1980-81||Wildcats||Independent||GLIAC (D-II)||Football|
|Oral Roberts University||Tulsa, Oklahoma||1963||Private||3,417||2012–13||2013–14||Golden Eagles||Southland[g]||Summit||Men's soccer|
|Pace University||New York, New York||1906||Private||12,772||1994–95||1997–98||Setters||East Coast (ECC),
(both NCAA Division II)[h]
|Quincy University||Quincy, Illinois||1860||Private||1,269||1994–95||1995–96||Hawks||GLVC
(NCAA Division II)
|Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
(SIU Edwardsville or SIUE)
(NCAA Division II)
|Missouri Valley Conference[i]||Men's soccer|
|University of South Dakota||Vermillion, South Dakota||1862||Public||10,151||2009–10||2010–11||Coyotes||Great West||Summit||Men's and women's swimming & diving|
|South Dakota State University||Brookings, South Dakota||1881||Public||12,851||2005–06||2006–07||Jackrabbits||Independent||Summit||Men's and women's swimming & diving|
|State University of New York at Oneonta||Oneonta, New York||1889||Public||5,852||1996–97||1998–98||Red Dragons||SUNYAC
(NCAA Division III)
|Valparaiso University||Valparaiso, Indiana||1859||Private||4,500||2017–18||2019–20||Crusaders||MVC||—[j][k]||Men's tennis|
|Youngstown State University||Youngstown, Ohio||1908||Public||11,298||1978-79||1980-81||Penguins||Independent||MVFC||Football|
Full members Full members (non-football) Associate members (football only) Associate member (baseball, men's soccer, softball, swimming and diving, or men's tennis)
The Summit League sponsors championship competition in nine men's and ten women's NCAA sanctioned sports. Former full member Eastern Illinois is an associate member for men's and women's swimming and diving and men's soccer. Drake and Illinois State became associate members in men's tennis starting in 2017–18, and former full member Valparaiso rejoined for men's swimming and men's tennis at the same time. Valparaiso dropped men's tennis after the 2019–20 season; it remained a swimming associate until moving that sport to the Mid-American Conference in 2021. Northern Colorado became a baseball associate starting in the 2022 season (2021–22 school year), and Lindenwood and Southern Indiana became associates in men's soccer plus men's and women's swimming & diving in the 2022–23 school year.
|Swimming and diving||8||8|
|Track and field (indoor)||8||9|
|Track and field (outdoor)||8||9|
Track & Field
Track & Field
|North Dakota State||N||N||N||6|
|South Dakota State||N||8|
Men's varsity sports not sponsored by The Summit League which are played by member schools:
|North Dakota State||MVFC||—||—||—||Big 12|
|South Dakota State||MVFC||—||—||—||Big 12|
Track & Field
Track & Field
|North Dakota State||N||N||8|
|South Dakota State||10|
Women's varsity sports not sponsored by The Summit League which are played by member schools:
|Denver||—||Big 12||—||Big East||RMISA|
|South Dakota State||United Equestrian Conference &
National Collegiate Equestrian Association
Main article: Association of Mid-Continent Universities football
|1986||Cleveland State||14*||defeated Indiana|
defeated Saint Joseph's
lost to Navy
|1987||Southwest Missouri State||13||defeated Clemson|
lost to Kansas
|1988||Southwest Missouri State||13||lost to UNLV|
|1989||Southwest Missouri State||14||lost to Seton Hall|
|1990||Southwest Missouri State||9*||lost to North Carolina|
|Northern Iowa||14||defeated Missouri|
lost to Minnesota
|1991||Green Bay||12||lost to Michigan State|
|Northern Illinois||13*||lost to St. John's|
|1992||Eastern Illinois||15||lost to Indiana|
|1993||Wright State||16||lost to Indiana|
|1994||Green Bay||12||defeated California|
lost to Syracuse
|1996||Valparaiso||14||lost to Arizona|
|1997||Valparaiso||12||lost to Boston College|
|1998||Valparaiso||13||defeated Ole Miss|
defeated Florida State
lost to Rhode Island
|1999||Valparaiso||15||lost to Maryland|
|2000||Valparaiso||16||lost to Michigan State|
|2001||Southern Utah||14||lost to Boston College|
|2002||Valparaiso||13||lost to Kentucky|
|2003||IUPUI||16||lost to Kentucky|
|2004||Valparaiso||15||lost to Gonzaga|
|2005||Oakland||16||defeated Alabama A&M**|
Lost to North Carolina
|2006||Oral Roberts||16||lost to Memphis|
|2007||Oral Roberts||14||lost to Washington State|
|2008||Oral Roberts||13||lost to Pittsburgh|
|2009||North Dakota State||14||lost to Kansas|
|2010||Oakland||14||lost to Pittsburgh|
|2011||Oakland||13||lost to Texas|
|2012||South Dakota State||14||lost to Baylor|
|2013||South Dakota State||13||lost to Michigan|
|2014||North Dakota State||12||defeated Oklahoma |
lost to San Diego State
|2015||North Dakota State||15||lost to Gonzaga|
|2016||South Dakota State||12||lost to Maryland|
|2017||South Dakota State||16||lost to Gonzaga|
|2018||South Dakota State||12||lost to Ohio State|
|2019||North Dakota State||16||defeated NCCU** |
lost to Duke
|2021||Oral Roberts||15||defeated Ohio State|
lost to Arkansas
|2022||South Dakota State||13||lost to Providence|
* At-large bid
** First Four game
|South Dakota State||8||2021-22||6||2022|
|North Dakota State||4||2019-20||5||2020|
|Purdue Fort Wayne||1||2015-16||0||N/A|
|South Dakota State||8||2021–22||9||2019|
|School||Soccer stadium||Capacity||Basketball arena||Capacity||Baseball field||Capacity||Softball field||Capacity|
|Denver||CIBER Field at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium||2,000||Hamilton Gymnasium||2,500||Non-baseball school||Non-softball school|
|Kansas City||Durwood Soccer Stadium||850||Swinney Recreation Center||1,500||Non-baseball school||Urban Youth Academy||—|
|North Dakota||Bronson Field||—||Betty Engelstad Sioux Center[a]||3,300||Non-baseball school||Apollo Sports Complex||—|
|North Dakota State||Dacotah Field||2,600||Scheels Center||5,644||Newman Outdoor Field||4,600||Tharaldson Park||735|
|Omaha||Al F. Caniglia Field||3,097||Baxter Arena||7,898||Tal Anderson Field||1,500||Connie Claussen Field||650|
|Oral Roberts||Case Soccer Complex||1,000||Mabee Center||10,575||J. L. Johnson Stadium||2,418||Non-softball school|
|St. Thomas||South Field||—||Schoenecker Arena||1,800||Koch Diamond||250||South Field||—|
|South Dakota||USD Soccer Field||—||Sanford Coyote Sports Center||6,000||Non-baseball school||Nygard Field||500|
|South Dakota State||Fishback Soccer Park||1,500||Frost Arena||6,500||Erv Huether Field||600||Jackrabbit Softball Stadium||200|
|Western Illinois||MacKenzie Alumni Field||1,000||Western Hall||5,139||Alfred D. Boyer Stadium||500||Mary Ellen McKee
|Eastern Illinois||Lakeside Soccer Field||1,000||Soccer-only member[b]|
|Lindenwood||Harlen C. Hunter Stadium||6,000||Soccer-only member[b]|
|Northern Colorado||Baseball-only member||Jackson Field||1,500||Baseball-only member|
|Southern Indiana||Strassweg Field||—||Soccer-only member[b]|
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)