ELMHURST, Ill. – The Summit League announced the addition of the University of North Dakota as its 10th full-time member Thursday. UND's membership officially begins July 1, 2018, and 17 Fighting Hawks athletic programs will compete in The Summit League starting with the 2018-19 academic year.
"On behalf of the President's Council, I am pleased to announce the University of North Dakota as the newest member of The Summit League," said commissioner Tom Douple. "The university has a strong academic reputation and a history of successful athletics, which makes it a tremendous addition and fit for our league. This addition of UND clearly strengthens the quality and depth of The Summit League's membership."
North Dakota's membership will take effect on July 1, 2018. The Fighting Hawks, who compete in men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, softball, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, men's and women's tennis, volleyball, will be immediately eligible for all Summit League Championships during the 2018-19 season.
"This is an important move for UND Athletics and for our fans," University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy said. "We are excited to renew long-treasured rivalries in joining many of our former conference companions in The Summit League. We look forward to competitions that are closer to home, which will allow our fans to attend more away games, and we look forward to hosting our long-time rivals and their fans in Grand Forks."
"This is an important day for UND Athletics and the University as we announce new athletic conference affiliations," said UND Athletics Director Brian Faison. "The Summit League is a great fit for North Dakota geographically and competitively. Our fans are going to enjoy having past rivalries renewed, now in a league setting. And, the league will have a positive financial impact on the athletics department."
Founded in 1883, the University of North Dakota has an enrollment of 14,951 and 243 fields of study, including internationally recognized programs in aviation, aerospace and unmanned aircraft systems. The Grand Forks, N.D.-based institution has undergraduate degrees in 91 fields of study and offers 55 master's and more than 35 doctoral programs.
Famous alumni of the University of North Dakota include: Maxie Anderson, the first to cross Atlantic Ocean, North America in balloon; James Maxwell Anderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright; Ed Belfour, Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender; Mark Chipman, owner of NHL's Winnipeg Jets; Ralph Engelstad, Las Vegas entrepreneur, casino owner; R. Richard Fontaine, co-founder GameStop Corp.; Terry Ingstad, announcer known as Shadoe Stevens; Phil Jackson, President of New York Knicks; Karen Nyberg, NASA astronaut; Sally (Wold) Smith, President and CEO, Buffalo Wild Wings.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Celebrating its 35th season of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at nine institutions, including four located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions along with over 80 Academic All-Americans, 75 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at www.thesummitleague.org/itsl.