The University of Denver has accepted an invitation to join the Summit League and will move all athletics programs currently participating in the Western Athletic Conference after completion of the 2012–13 season. The invitation to join the Summit League came shortly after conference officials visited the Denver campus.
“Just as a university is responsible for providing its student-athletes with solid instruction and guidance both in the classroom and on the field of play, a robust conference values educational excellence as well as athletic achievement,” says Chancellor Robert Coombe. “Considering its strong academic focus, along with the competitive success of its member institutions’ sports programs, we could not be more pleased than to find a permanent home in the Summit League.”
The University of Denver plans to participate in 11 of the 19 championship sports currently offered by the Summit League. DU teams scheduled to compete for conference championships include men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, and volleyball. The Pioneers will officially begin league play during the 2013–14 school year.
“The current climate within collegiate athletics has made it imperative that the University find a stable home for the majority of our sport programs,” says Peg Bradley-Doppes, vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center operations. “The Summit League is an excellent alliance for our teams, with many institutions within the conference already familiar to residents of the Rocky Mountain region. Our student-athletes will be able to jump in and compete for NCAA post-season play right away, which is the goal for all of our athletic programs.”
The University of Denver becomes the 10th member of the Summit League, joining Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, University of Missouri-Kansas City, North Dakota State University, Oakland University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University.
The locations of the Summit League schools means travel out of Denver International Airport will require few connecting flights, which will significantly reduce the amount of missed class time by DU student-athletes. The direct flight option for many trips also will help to curb the amount of allocated budget needed for travel by all conference members.
The University’s remaining sports — hockey, gymnastics, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s skiing — will continue in their respective conferences.