No Timetable Given For the Move
CHN Staff Report
Augustana University, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, released a statement today confirming its plans to start a Division I hockey program. Its statement backed up media reports that leaked Tuesday night, though the school did not give a timetable.
Augustana is a Division II school, but is currently maneuvering towards a transition to full Division I status.
The school also said the lead gift to facilitate the start of a hockey program would come from T. Denny Sanford, a South Dakota native and founder of Premier Bank. Sanford is already the namesake of the hockey arena in Sioux Falls, which has hosted a few NCAA Regionals since opening in 2014.
Augustana would be the first D-I hockey program in South Dakota. The school said it would share more information about its plans later in the summer or early fall.
Meanwhile, college hockey is losing three programs this year — Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska-Anchorage and Robert Morris, barring some last-minute change. At the same time, St. Thomas joins the D-I ranks after many years as a D-III power, and Lindenwood (suburban St. Louis) is making strides towards adding a men’s program.
Other programs thought to be close to adding, like Illinois and Navy, have not been heard from since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Tennessee State, in Nashville, recently said it was taking part in a feasibility study, as other schools have done as part of the joint program of the NHL and College Hockey Inc. If it happens, Tennessee State would be the first Historically Black College and University in the U.S. to add hockey.