SIOUX FALLS, SD A decade ago Josh Morton got a first hand look at what a transition to Division One looked like while at North Dakota.
"There's ups and downs and that, while you may have a plan and a map to get there, you're going to have to go off the map." Morton says.
For Augustana that detour came over the weekend.
"Their answer was no, not at this time. It wasn't no, never. And so I think that we have some areas that we can continue to show progress." Augustana President Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin says.
Chief among the concerns that led to the Summit League's decision appears to be Augustana's enrollment of just under 2,000, which would make them among the smallest schools in Division One.
"That's where we need to continue to show that we can grow and that we can get stronger and I think we're positioning the university given all the great progress in this first six months in so many other parts of our plan and campaign. It gives us confidence that we'll be able to continue to strengthen our position." Herseth-Sandlin says.
There is no limit to the amount of times Augustana can apply for Summit League membership, and their leadership will re-evaluate their position and adapt to an athletic landscape made even more unpredictable by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm not naive enough to think that this situation that we're in doesn't impact a lot of people. I also understand that our donors, they want to invest in excellence. And so do I think that the money will be there to get Augustana to Division One? I absolutely do." Morton says.
That could include applying to join other conferences, something that didn't happen this time.
"The question you pose is sort of a snapshot of time today as compared to what we may be seeing on the horizon two, three, five or seven years from now. And we'll do our best to remain nimble while also continuing to invest." Herseth-Sandlin says.
Until then the Vikings will remain in the NSIC, as their leaders take a page from their athletes.
"You're not always going to win. Sometimes you'll experience failure. What do you do? Do you go home and pack it in and say you're done? No. And so we're just doing what we ask our students to do; perseverance, resilience, hard work." Morton says.
Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.