UNA Continues To Progress Toward Division I
Nov. 17, 2011
FLORENCE, Ala. – After yesterday’s news from the Ohio Valley Conference, the University of North Alabama is continuing to pursue its plans for NCAA Division I status.
“The OVC would have been a good fit, but their plans not to expand at this time do not in any way change our plans to advance,” said Mark Linder, UNA athletics director.
The UNA board of trustees, on June 13, approved a resolution of intent to advance to Division I upon completion of five benchmark goals. The resolution stands until June 1, 2012. It did not specify a conference affiliation.
“The board’s resolution remains the same following the OVC’s decision, and we will continue to put in place the necessary steps for a successful transition,” said Dr. William G. Cale Jr., UNA president.
Linder said the OVC’s announcement “was a bump in the road, not the end of the road. The OVC was one possible path for us, but there are several other paths to explore.”
As the university moves forward, its athletics program will continue to advance to Division I standards, including the creation of two new women’s teams. The university will also continue raising the necessary funds for the transition. The board’s Division I resolution stated that the university must raise $500,000 in new annual financial pledges, to total at least $3 million by 2017. Verbal commitments had reached $525,000 by mid October.
Alan Medders, UNA vice president for university advancement, said it is now more important than ever to secure the commitments as official pledges and gifts by December.
“We must meet these goals and these standards very quickly to position ourselves as DI-ready,” he said. “As we do, conferences will see us as a strong asset to their leagues.”
UNA currently competes in the Gulf South Conference of the NCAA Division II. An invitation from a Division I conference and acceptance of the invitation by the UNA board would mean UNA must offer the GSC a notice of withdrawal by May 23, 2012, for entry into Division I in 2013. The entire transition will be a six-year process, concluding in 2017. For more details about the transition process, visit www.una.edu/division1.