“After extensive membership discussions, the University of St. Thomas will be involuntarily removed from membership in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). The MIAC Presidents’ Council cites athletic competitive party in the conference as the primary concern. St. Thomas will begin a multi-year transition immediately and meanwhile is eligible to compete as a full member of the MIAC through the end of spring 2021.
St. Thomas is one of the seven founding members of the MIAC and will leave the conference in good standing with a long and appreciated history of academic and athletic success.”
- The official statement from the MIAC.
This is a hypothetical, but walk with me here.
Imagine being married to someone for 99 years. Everything is great, the relationship makes sense and it works. There’s no place you’d rather be. As far as you know, your spouse feels the same way.
You come home from work one day, maybe whistling a nice tune to yourself thinking that everything is normal, to find a note on the kitchen table. You find this odd and pick up the note. You open it up and it reads:
I’m divorcing you. I don’t owe you an explanation or a discussion even though we’ve been together 99 years. I’m also taking the house you built and expect you gone by morning. Good luck with your future.
This is a dumb hypothetical to express how asinine the MIAC’s decision was this week to expel St. Thomas.
It cannot be denied that St. Thomas has had the most athletic success in the conference in recent years. Nobody would argue against that. They also have the nicest facilities and the highest enrollment. Again, nobody would disagree.
However, this was one of the most immature and embarrassing decisions I’ve seen supposed leaders make… Well, that might be an exaggeration, but forgive me because I’m frustrated.
My biggest complaint is the nature with which the process was done. This decision was made in secret behind closed doors all because a couple of schools were upset they couldn’t compete.
Media members tried to discover the truth and report on this story, including many prominent voices in the Twin Cities. However, the MIAC tried to get this done swiftly and privately and would not let coaches or officials of any schools speak on the matter.
If you are going to go down this ridiculous path, stand up and own it. Be upfront with the students, athletes, alumni and fans about the true reason why this is a problem. You at least owe them that.
Because of the nature and magnitude of this story, national outlets like ESPN, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, MPR, Bleacher Report, Yahoo, New York Post and many others have published details of the event. At a minimum, St. Thomas can at least look like a national hero while the MIAC tucks their tail between their legs and is ridiculed by the entire country.
The schools who apparently voted to keep St. Thomas in were: St. Thomas, St. John’s, St. Ben’s, and Bethel.
That means shame on Augsburg, Carleton, Concordia Moorhead, Gustavus, Hamline and St. Olaf and the rest of the MIAC schools.
It really is a great lesson to teach your students: If you can’t beat them, don’t work harder to try to beat them next time, simply expel them from the conference so you can pretend you are actually better.
That’s leadership at it’s finest.
Good luck with whatever your future holds St. Thomas. As a Bethel alum, I truly hope it works out the best for you. Please beat those schools who voted you out by 100 points in the fall.