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Augustana (S.D.) sports, including wrestling, to move to NCAA Division I


Augustana University wrestling -- and all other intercollegiate sports at the Sioux Falls, S.D. school -- will be making the move from NCAA Division II to Division I.

The transition -- part of school president Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's AU: Vision 2030 strategic vision plan -- was approved by Augustana's Board of Trustees on Thursday.

One key element of this plan is a transition for Vikings athletics to a Division I intercollegiate conference.

While this vision plan itself does not indicate a timetable for this transition, multiple media reports indicate the school hopes to make the transition during the 2021-22 school year.

"Augustana needs to notify its current conference, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) by the end of the year if they intend to leave the conference to begin the transition," according to the Argus-Leader.

Augustana has been a member of the NSIC since 2008.

"Augustana has been a pivotal contributor to the success of the NSIC over the past decade," according to NSIC Commissioner Erin Lind. "They have represented the NSIC well in competition, in the classroom, and in their community. We wish all the student-athletes, coaches, administrators and fans the best in the future."

In the past, Augustana has stated its intentions to move to the Summit League, which recently relocated its headquarters from suburban Chicago to Sioux Falls.

If approved to join the Summit League, the Vikings would begin a five-year transition period that will include some time playing as an independent without a conference, and ineligibility for postseason play.

The AU Viking wrestling program is led by head coach Jason Reitmeier, a 1997 Augustana alum who started his coaching career at his college alma mater immediately upon graduation. Since taking the helm in 2003, Reitmeier has led the Vikings to an overall record of 176-80.

Known as Augustana College until 2015, Augustana University is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Located in Sioux Falls, the school is the largest private university in South Dakota. The school, affectionately known as "Augie," has an enrollment of approximately 2,100 students.

Augustana is the second Division II school with an interscholastic wrestling program to announce plans to move to Division I. In October, InterMat reported that Long Island University in New York would combine each of its sports programs -- including wrestling -- at its two campuses -- LIU Brooklyn, and LIU Post -- into a single NCAA Division I program as part of a "One LIU" initiative. LIU expects to complete that transition in time for the 2019-20 academic year.

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