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Publish date: Jul 5, 2011

Four schools cleared for active DI status

By Gary Brown

Pending final approval from the Division I Board of Directors next month, Florida Gulf Coast University, Houston Baptist University, North Carolina Central University and the University of South Carolina Upstate will become active members of Division I as of Sept. 1.

The four institutions were among those whose provisional/reclassifying membership status was reviewed by the Division I Administration Cabinet at its June 29 meeting. The decisions aren’t final until the Board of Directors considers them at its Aug. 11 meeting.

The four schools were in the process of reclassifying to Division I when the Board implemented a membership moratorium in 2007 to study enhanced membership standards. Legislation establishing a new reclassification process was adopted earlier this year and becomes effective Aug. 1 when the moratorium expires.

In that vein, the cabinet accepted its first post-moratorium application request from the University of Nebraska Omaha, which is seeking to reclassify its athletics program from Division II. Nebraska Omaha will now begin a four-year reclassification process.

Cabinet members also accepted applications from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; the University of South Alabama; and Texas State University-San Marcos to begin a two-year reclassification from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Multidivisional classification

The Administration Cabinet also reviewed ramifications of the new Division I membership standards adopted in April (Proposal No. 2010-100) that eliminates multidivisional membership. The 45 current non-Division I schools that had been using multidivisional classification (28 of them have one sport in Division I, and 17 have two, one in each gender) were grandfathered under the new proposal.

With that in mind, cabinet members are asking the Division I Leadership Council to consider sponsoring legislation to permit (not require) those current non-Division I institutions with a sport classified in Division I for only one gender to seek reclassification of one Division I sport of the opposite gender.

The cabinet directed staff to develop information to help the Leadership Council review the issue.

Other highlights

In other action at the Administration Cabinet’s June 29 meeting, members:

  • Recommended that legislation be sponsored to transfer Bylaw 21 (committees) from bylaw status to policy status, thus eliminating it from the NCAA Manual. Cabinet members believe that NCAA committees should have more autonomy to decide composition requirements and other committee business as matters of policy rather than require changes to be considered through the legislative process.
  • Directed staff to develop for its consideration potential penalties for a multidivisional institution that fails to meet the legislative deadline (that is, once every four years) for conducting the compliance review. The cabinet agreed to review this issue again at its September meeting with the intent of sponsoring legislation to address the matter.
  • Elected Bill Chaves, director of athletics at Eastern Washington University and representing the Big Sky Conference, to serve as chair of the cabinet beginning Sept. 1.