SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Augustana University announced its decision to go Division I in December 2018, and applied to the Summit League earlier this year. That application was rejected on Wednesday.
A day after the Summit League denied its application, Augustana President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin says the University is disappointed, but not defeated.
“We’ll take some time this summer to evaluate next steps, options, timelines while we’ll remain a proud member of the NSIC, one of the best conferences in Division II and continue to compete with excellence,” Augustana President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said.
An obstacle in Augustana’s transition to Division I is its size. Augie would be among the smallest D1 members, but Herseth Sandlin believes the Summit League was impressed with the university’s application.
“They see strong trendlines in the right direction as it relates to our endowment growth. They see that we’ve added more academic programs to help with enrollment growth over time. They continue to see the investments we continue to make in Viking athletics,” Herseth Sandlin said.
In the 24 hours since receiving a ‘no’, Herseth Sandlin says she’s visited with Augustana’s head coaches.
“There’s disappointment when you don’t get the outcome in a particular game that you want, but you watch some game tape, watch some film, make some adjustments, you don’t throw out the playbook,” Herseth Sandlin said. “We’re still committed to all of the goals in the Viking Bold plan. This is a journey to 2030 and it just simply would be premature to give up on any one of our goals six months into this ten year journey,” Herseth Sandlin added.
A journey that could still end with Augustana in the Summit League.
“I appreciate the opportunity to have a virtual site visit, to get constructive feedback, you know they said no, not at this time, they didn’t say never,” Herseth Sandlin said.
Herseth Sandlin says they’ll spend the summer gathering input from coaches, colleagues, and the board of trustees to evaluate their options and next steps.