Students, athletes, and univeristy officials
gathered in the Bank of Kentucky Center
for the announcement Thursday that Northern
Kentucky University will move to NCAA Division
I athletics in 2012.
Chris Bowling-Eagle 99.3
(Highland Heights, Ky.) – Starting in the fall of 2012, the tri-state will have a new NCAA Division I athletics program.
Northern Kentucky University officials announced Thursday afternoon the school will become the tenth member of the Atlantic Sun Conference for the 2012-13 school year, setting into motion a reclassification from Division II to Division I.
The NKU Board of Regents voted unanimously for the move, following a unanimous vote from the Atlantic Sun’s Board of Presidents.
“This day has been a long time in the making,” said NKU President James Votruba. “Today we begin a new era not just for our athletics program, but for our institution and our region. Division I athletics will help position the university regionally and nationally in a way that otherwise would not be possible.
“This is a big step for our university, and we are excited about the invitation to join the Atlantic Sun Conference,” NKU Director of Athletics Scott Eaton said. “We deeply appreciate all of the friendships we made over the years as a member of the GLVC and Division II. There are many great memories from our years of competing in the league that we will always cherish.
NKU teams and individual athletes will be able to compete for a conference title and honors next year, however, the school must ride the bench for four years before being eligible for NCAA postseason play as a Division I member.
The Norse won three national championships at the Division II level during the past 11 years. In both 2000 and 2008, the women's basketball team captured Division II national titles. A year ago, the men's soccer team won the Division II national championship.
"The rigorous competition within the GLVC has prepared us well for what we will face at the Division I level,” Eaton said. “We are ready for the next step and look forward to building new friendships in the Atlantic Sun Conference and Division I. I know everyone at NKU is very excited about this opportunity.”