The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced Wednesday that the University of St. Thomas “will be involuntarily removed” after nearly 100 years as a member school, the Star Tribune’s Patrick Reusse reports.
Reusse first wrote about the issue in early April, explaining that some MIAC schools sought the expulsion because of St. Thomas’ large enrollment and athletic dominance, particularly in football.
Two responses soon followed on the Star Tribune’s opinion pages:
• In “Yes, have St. Thomas leave the MIAC,” Ryan Slechta, a St. Thomas alumnus, wrote that the school’s basic mission is no longer in sync with that of other MIAC schools. “The fact is, my alma mater is no longer a peer institution to St. Olaf, Carleton or St. John’s,” Slechta wrote. “These colleges have stayed much more committed to their liberal arts mission than St. Thomas. Defeating St. Olaf in football 97-0 isn’t a good look, but at the end of the day, we just aren’t in the same category anymore.”
• But in “Don’t boot St. Thomas from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference,” Tanner Sparrow, a recent graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College who played football for four seasons there, wrote that losses to the Tommies were worth the battle. “God knows I adore the people, academics and culture at Gustavus, but to immature-but-promising high school athletes, and Division I transfers (of which St. Thomas has had plenty), it offered an unfair advantage to purple in the eyes of our team,” he wrote. “That isn’t to say we gave up on the idea of beating them. That’s not the Gustie way. Instead, we used it as fuel for our training, and this year, despite all the individual talent on the Tommies, we carried a 13-0 lead against them into the fourth quarter.”
Responses also arrived in the form of letters to the editor. Some that appeared in our Readers Write column:
• “Well, if MIAC membership is at issue and we run the numbers ... ,” April 12.
• “Look, this St. Thomas brouhaha is basically about unfair football,” May 12.
• “In college sports talk, academic excellence gets overshadowed,” May 14.