St. Thomas athletics 'optimistic' about possible move to DI

Officials at the University of St. Thomas remain optimistic about the possibility of the school moving from Division III straight to Division I, which still needs NCAA and league approval.

Vice President, Director of Athletics Phil Esten said in a statement to KSTP Friday that Division I committees have had "positive conversations" about St. Thomas possibly reclassifying as a DI school. However, officials are still working toward a final decision and the school remains "optimistic" there will be a resolution by the spring.

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"We are thankful for the work completed to date by the NCAA staff and various Division I committees, as well as the Summit League's support and that from so many involved in this process," Esten's statement said.

Current NCAA rules require DIII schools to spend time as a DII school before being able to make the jump to DI, unless a waiver is granted.

St. Thomas has explored the idea of making the jump to DI after the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced this summer that the university will be "involuntarily removed from membership" in the conference after the spring of 2021.