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A Division III conference is reportedly considering kicking out one of its members for being too successful

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, a 9-team Division III league, is considering kicking out the University of St. Thomas for being too dominant over the other league members, according to Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The Tommies boast the most successful athletics department in the league -- they finished with 650.25 points in the 2017-18 Learfield Directors' Cup; the next-closest MIAC school had 384.50 -- and the program's dominance is most evident in football, particularly since Glenn Caruso's 2008 hiring. St. Thomas is 118-19 in 11 seasons under Caruso, including a 78-10 MIAC mark with six league championships. (Caruso did not return a message from FootballScoop seeking comment as of press time.)

The tipping point, according to the Star-Tribune, came over a 4-week period in 2017, when St. Thomas won four league games by a combined 297-20, bookended by an 84-0 win over Hamline and a 97-0 thumping of St. Olaf.

This past season, St. Thomas beat Hamline 68-0, thrashed St. Olaf 60-0, and scored a 68-0 victory over Carleton. (For what it's worth, St. Thomas went 6-2 in MIAC play and did not win the league title.)

“That St. Olaf game seemed to get people upset,” Bethel head coach Steve Johnson told the paper. “We started hearing more about it.” (Johnson said he was personally in favor of keeping St. Thomas; his Royals team beat the Tommies 21-15 to close the 2018 season.)

St. Thomas is by far the largest MIAC school; the St. Paul-based university boasts an enrollment of 6,200 undergraduates, more than double the next-largest football-playing MIAC school.

There is no bylaw for MIAC schools to boot one of their members for being too successful, so the anti-Tommie members are considering adding a new enrollment limit for conference membership, according to the paper.

To create leverage to boot St. Thomas, the anti-Tommie faction is reportedly creating an us-or-them ultimatum, arguing that keeping St. Thomas would cause four of the league's smaller schools to find a new football conference, thereby leaving the MIAC with just five teams. If St. Thomas was kicked out, Macalester, an original MIAC member, would return to the conference, keeping the MIAC's football roster at nine equally-yoked programs.

At the center of the political issue is St. Thomas' longtime rival, St. John's. The Tommie-Johnnie Bowl is among the most storied rivalries in Division III. SportsCenter broadcast on-site from Collegeville, Minn., in 2015, and in 2017 the game drew nearly 40,000 fans to the Minnesota Twins' Target Field.

The paper said St. John's is in favor of keeping St. Thomas, but a resolution late last month among MIAC coaches failed to pass, according to the Star-Tribune.

The 13 MIAC school presidents will meet on April 18 to decide whether or not to move forward with the issue. If the issue does move forward, per the Star-Tribune, a final up-or-down vote would take place next month, with nine votes required to give St. Thomas the boot.

If the measure is successful, the 2020 football season would be St. Thomas' last in the MIAC. That season also represents the 100-year anniversary of five Minnesota colleges gathering to create the conference, a group that included St. Thomas.