The Summit League

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The Summit League
The Summit League logo
Established June 18, 1982[1]
Association NCAA
Division Division I non-football
Members 9 Full (1 Associate)
Sports fielded 19 (men's: 9; women's: 10)
Region Midwestern United States
Former names Association of Mid-Continent Universities (1982–1989)
Mid-Continent Conference (1989–2007)
Headquarters Elmhurst, Illinois
Commissioner Tom Douple (since 2005)
The Summit League locations

The Summit League (or The Summit) is an NCAA Division I college athletic conference which operates in the Midwestern United States. On June 1, 2007, the conference changed its name from the Mid-Continent Conference.

Member schools[edit]

Current members[edit]

Current full members[edit]

Institution Location
Founded Type Enrollment U.S. News
Ranking[2] #
Endowment [2][3] Joined Nickname Colors
University of Denver Denver, Colorado
1864 Private 11,476 88
$373,395,434 2013 Pioneers Crimson & Gold
Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, Indiana
1964 Public 14,326 RNP
$39,575,227 2007 Mastodons Royal Blue & White
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis Indianapolis, Indiana
1969 Public 27,184 194
$634,978,972 1998 Jaguars Crimson & Old Gold
University of Nebraska Omaha Omaha, Nebraska
1908 Public 15,448 RNP
$4,203,111 2012 Mavericks Crimson & Black
North Dakota State University Fargo, North Dakota
1890 Public 14,186 181
$103,043,000 2007 Bison Green & Yellow
Oral Roberts University Tulsa, Oklahoma
1963 Private 3,417 46
(Regional: West)
$40,100,000 1997 *
Golden Eagles Vegas Gold & Navy Blue
University of South Dakota Vermillion, South Dakota
1862 Public 10,151 168
$155,901,000 2011 Coyotes Vermillion & White
South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota
1881 Public 12,851 181
$83,008,686 2007 Jackrabbits Blue & Yellow
Western Illinois University Macomb, Illinois
1899 Public 13,602 39
(Regional: Midwest)
$28,422,724 1982 Leathernecks Purple & Gold

* - Oral Roberts University was a previous member of the conference from 1997-98 to 2011-12, before re-joining in 2014.
# - "RNP" is an abbreviation for "Ranked Not Published" used by U.S. News & World Report in its rankings of colleges and universities.
- The Mid-Con did not sponsor women's sports until 1992–93. Before that time, Western Illinois had been a member of the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference, which began as a women's-only conference and added football in 1985; WIU was a member of both sides of the conference. When the Gateway merged its women's side into the Missouri Valley Conference, WIU moved its women's sports into the Mid-Con, but has kept its football team in the Gateway (now known as the Missouri Valley Football Conference) to this day.

Current associate members[edit]

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Joined Nickname Primary
Summit Sport
Eastern Illinois University Charleston, Illinois 1895 Public 9,775 2005–06sw.dv.
Panthers OVC swimming and diving,[4]
men's soccer[5]

Former members[edit]

Former full members[edit]

The Summit League has twenty-one former members.

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Joined Left Nickname New
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)
Ladies (women's)
American Southwest SCAC (Div. 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 7,131 1994 2006 Cougars NCAA D-I Independent WAC
Cleveland State University Cleveland, Ohio 1964 Public 17,204 1982 1994 Vikings Horizon
Eastern Illinois University Charleston, Illinois 1895 Public 11,651 1982 1996 Panthers OVC
University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, Illinois 1858 Public 28,091 1982 1994 Flames Horizon
University of Missouri–Kansas City[6] Kansas City, Missouri 1933 Public 16,019 1994 2013 Kangaroos WAC
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 1994 Huskies Horizon Mid-American (MAC)
University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa 1876 Public 11,147 1982 1991 Panthers Missouri Valley
Oakland University[7] Rochester, Michigan 1957 Public 19,379 1998 2013 Golden Grizzlies Horizon
Southern Utah University Cedar City, Utah 1897 Public 8,297 1997 2012 Thunderbirds Big Sky
Southwest Missouri State University Springfield, Missouri 1905 Public 21,059 1982 1990 Bears (men's)
Lady Bears (women's)
Missouri Valley
Troy State University 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 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 2007 Crusaders Horizon
Wright State University Fairborn, Ohio 1967 Public 17,789 1991 1994 Raiders Horizon
Youngstown State University Youngstown, Ohio 1908 Public 15,194 1992 2001 Penguins Horizon
  1. - The then-Mid-Continent Conference did not sponsor women's sports until the 1992–93 school year. Cleveland State, UIC, Northern Illinois, Valparaiso, Green Bay, and Wright State were all members of the women's-only North Star Conference until the Mid-Con began sponsoring women's sports, effectively absorbing the NSC.
  2. - As noted before, the Mid-Con did not sponsor women's sports until 1992–93. Before that time, Eastern Illinois had been a member of the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference, which began as a women's-only conference and added football in 1985; EIU was a member of both sides of the conference. When the Gateway merged its women's side into the Missouri Valley Conference, EIU moved its women's sports into the Mid-Con, but kept its football team in the Gateway until it moved its entire athletic program into the Ohio Valley Conference in 1996.

Former associate members[edit]

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Joined Left Nickname Primary
Summit Sport
DePaul University Chicago, Illinois 1898 Private 24,414 1992–93 1998–99 Blue Demons Big East softball
Howard University Washington, D.C. 1867 Private 10,000 1996–97 1998–99 Bison MEAC 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)
Pace University New York, New York 1906 Private 12,772 1994–95 1997–98 Setters Northeast-10 (NE-10)
(NCAA Division II)
Quincy University Quincy, Illinois 1860 Private 1,269 1994–95 1995–96 Hawks GLVC
(NCAA Division II)
men's soccer
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Edwardsville, Illinois 1957 Public 13,850 1994–95 1995–96 Cougars OVC men's soccer
University of South Dakota Vermillion, South Dakota 1862 Public 10,151 2009–10 2010–11 Coyotes Summit swimming and diving
South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota 1881 Public 12,851 2005–06 2006–07 Jackrabbits Summit swimming and 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)
men's soccer


Locations of current Summit League full member institutions.


The association was created on June 18, 1982 at the O'Hare Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois[1] as the Association of Mid-Continent Universities (or AMCU or AMCU-8, pronounced Am-cue), which it was known as until 1989.[8] The conference sponsored football from 1982 until 1984 at the Division I-AA level (now Division I FCS), and current members North Dakota State, South Dakota, South Dakota State, and Western Illinois have FCS football programs.

Mid-Continent Conference logo, 1982–2007

Changes and the addition of women's sports[edit]

In the early 1990s, the conference saw its first changes. 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 was replaced by another Ohio school, Youngstown State University. 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 had all been 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. A year later, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee joined the Mid-Continent.

Horizon and ECC transitions[edit]

In 1994, charter members Cleveland State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin–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.

In response, 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. None of these institutions remain in the league.

Missouri-Kansas City, formerly an independent, also joined the Mid-Continent Conference in 1994.

Declining membership[edit]

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 went to 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 was replaced by Centenary College 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 University then moved to the Horizon in 2007.

Renewed expansion[edit]

At the Mid-Continent Conference annual Presidents Council meeting in 2006, conference expansion was discussed at length, and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), 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.[9] The following day, North Dakota State and South Dakota State also accepted invitations to join the conference.[10][11]

The Summit League has 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.[12] Centenary College subsequently announced that it would leave the Summit League following the 2010–2011 campaign.[13]

The University of North Dakota had also been openly rumored to have been courted by the Summit League, but uncertainty over the Fighting Sioux nickname in all likelihood prevented UND's admission. 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.[14]

The conference unveiled the University of Denver (DU) as its 10th member on November 27, 2012, and the Pioneers joined in July 2013.[15] While Denver is slightly outside The Summit's current Midwestern base, travel issues for the other members were seemingly minimized by the city's status as a major air hub.[15] Then, with Denver among the eight of ten WAC members switching to other conferences, that league was searching for new members, and on February 7, 2013, it was announced that UMKC would be one of six schools joining the WAC for the 2013-14 season,[6] dropping the Summit league back to nine member schools. On May 7, 2013, membership fell to eight schools, when Oakland announced that it was joining the Horizon League.[7] With Oakland's move, eight of the nine current Horizon League programs are former Summit League members.

In December, 2013, The Summit League office announced that Oral Roberts University was returning to the conference in all sports, effective July 1, 2014.[16]

Membership timeline[edit]

University of Denver University of Nebraska Omaha University of South Dakota North Dakota State University Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne South Dakota State University Centenary College of Louisiana Oakland University Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis Southern Utah University Oral Roberts University Howard University State University of New York at Oneonta University of Missouri–Kansas City Troy University Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Quincy University Pace University Northeastern Illinois University New York Institute of Technology Chicago State University Long Island University C. W. Post Campus Central Connecticut State University University at Buffalo, The State University of New York University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Youngstown State University DePaul University Wright State University Northern Illinois University University of Akron Western Illinois University Valparaiso University Eastern Illinois University University of Wisconsin–Green Bay University of Illinois at Chicago Cleveland State University University of Northern Iowa Missouri State University

Full members Full members (non-football) Associate member (baseball, men's soccer, softball, or swimming and diving)

  • Southwest Missouri State adopted its current name of Missouri State University in 2005.
  • The two former members that are part of the University of Wisconsin System, namely UW–Green Bay and UW–Milwaukee, now brand themselves for athletic purposes as "Green Bay" and "Milwaukee".
  • Troy State adopted its current name of Troy University in 2004.


The Summit League sponsors championship competition in nine men's and ten women's NCAA sanctioned sports.[17] Former full member Eastern Illinois is an associate member for men's and women's swimming and diving and men's soccer.

Teams in Summit League competition
Sport Men's Women's
Baseball 5
Basketball 8 8
Cross country 6 7
Golf 8 8
Soccer 7 8
Softball 7
Swimming and diving 6 7
Tennis 6 7
Track and field (indoor) 4 6
Track and field (outdoor) 5 7
Volleyball 8


Men's basketball[edit]

Men's basketball in the NCAA tournament[edit]

Year Team Seed Results
1983 none
1984 none
1985 none
1986 Cleveland State 14* defeated Indiana
defeated Saint Joseph's
lost to Navy
1987 Southwest Missouri State[18] 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
1995 none
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

* At-large bid
** Opening round game


Full members
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 Magness Arena 7,200 Non-baseball school Non-softball school
IPFW Hefner Soccer Complex 2,000 Hilliard Gates Sports Center 2,300* Mastodon Field 200[19] IPFW Softball Field 500
IUPUI Carroll Stadium 12,111 Fairgrounds Coliseum 8,200 Non-baseball school IUPUI Softball Complex 500
North Dakota State Dacotah Field[20] 2,600[21] Bison Sports Arena 5,830[22] Newman Outdoor Field 4,600 Ellig Sports Complex[23] 450
Omaha Caniglia Field[24] 3,466[25] Ralston Arena (men)
Lee & Helene Sapp Fieldhouse (women)
Ballpark at Boys Town N/A Westside Field
at Westbrook
Oral Roberts Case Soccer Complex 1,000 Mabee Center 10,575 J. L. Johnson Stadium 2,418 Non-softball school
South Dakota USD Soccer Field N/A DakotaDome 10,000 Non-baseball school Nygard Field N/A
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
Softball Stadium
Associate members
Eastern Illinois Lakeside Soccer Field 1,000[26] Soccer-only member

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Valpo to join Conference". Green Bay, Wisconsin: The Rochester Sentinel. 19 June 1982. Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b [1]
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Eastern Illinois men's soccer joins Summit League , The NCAA News, March 26, 2010
  6. ^ a b "UMKC Heading to the Western Athletic Conference - UMKC Athletics". Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Oakland University to Join". Horizon League. May 7, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ The Spectrum -
  9. ^ Press Release. IPFW accepts invitation to join Mid-Continent Conference, Mid-Continent Conference, August 30, 2006.
  10. ^ Press Release. North Dakota State University accepts invitation to join Mid-Continent Conference, Mid-Continent Conference, August 31, 2006.
  11. ^ Press Release. South Dakota State University accepts invitation to join Mid-Continent Conference, Mid-Continent Conference, August 31, 2006.
  12. ^ "University of South Dakota Official Athletic Site - University of South Dakota". Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Centenary to leave Summit League". July 7, 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  14. ^ "North Dakota, Southern Utah joining Big Sky Conference - ESPN". November 1, 2010. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Denver Becomes The Summit League's Newest Member" (Press release). The Summit League. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "The Summit League". The Summit League. June 27, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  18. ^ MSU was known as Southwest Missouri State University until 2005.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^

External links[edit]