Thomas More has been a consistently strong NCAA Division III program, making a number of playoff appearances during its time at that level. Still, he school has announced that it will leaving the NCAA after next school year.
The Saints are moving over to the NAIA. Thomas More competed there for much of its history, before joining the NCAA after the 1990 season.
The small Catholic Kentucky college will compete in the Mid-South Conference. That league features a number of other Kentucky schools, as well as some in Georgia, Ohio, and Tennessee.
From Thomas More's release:
Thomas More College Director of Athletics, Terry Connor, announced today (Tuesday, July 24, 2018) that Thomas More will move to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Mid-South Conference effective July 1, 2019. Thomas More was a member of the NAIA from 1947 to 1990 when it left for the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III, which it will leave at the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year.
"In our conversations with representatives of the NAIA, their dedication to placing student development first was evident," stated Acting Thomas More President Dr. Kathleen Jagger. "Their character focus is consistent with our institutional mission. We are delighted to have this opportunity to join a competitive conference, with common academic standards and geographic proximity that will minimize the travel time for our student-athletes."
Thomas More offers 11 men's and 11 women's varsity sports.
At the NAIA level, it will also be able to offer junior varsity teams. As the released states, this will also cut down on travel.
Still, given the success that many Saints teams have had a Division III, it is a bit surprising to those of us who aren't super tapped in to the lower level of college sports. The football program was a relatively regular participant in the Division III playoffs, and had posted a number of undefeated regular seasons during its time in Division III.