FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Northern Kentucky University announced today that it has accepted an invitation to join the Atlantic Sun Conference and will begin reclassification to NCAA Division I status in athletics during the 2012-13 academic year.
The Atlantic Sun’s Board of Presidents voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the invitation to NKU, pending its successful reclassification. The NKU Board of Regents voted unanimously this afternoon to accept the invitation from the Atlantic Sun and reclassify.
“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.
“We’ve said for several years that we would make this move when we could field competitive Division I teams without compromising other critical university priorities,” he said. “The other important component was to find a group of peer institutions that share our aspirations. The A-Sun is a great fit for us. The league has a diverse membership of large and small institutions, public and private. All share a deep commitment to academic achievement and athletic success.”
NKU is currently a member of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference and will reclassify to Division I status after the 2011-12 academic year. NKU will officially become the 10th member of the Atlantic Sun on July 1, 2012, and its athletic teams will begin competing as a Division I program and play a full A-Sun schedule next season.
NKU student-athletes will also be eligible for all conference honors and awards, and can compete for conference championships next year in men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and men’s and women’s golf.
“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.
“The rigorous competition within the GLVC has prepared us well for what we will face at the Division I level,” he 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.”
NKU officially notified the GLVC office Thursday of its decision to reclassify to Division I and leave the conference at the conclusion of the 2011-12 academic year. NKU will remain eligible for all GLVC championships as well as NCAA Division II postseason play in 2011-12.
NKU has 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.
“On behalf of everyone invested in the success of the Atlantic Sun Conference, I am very pleased to officially welcome Northern Kentucky University as our newest member,” A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart said.
“NKU’s commitment to the highest level of achievement, in the classroom and on the playing fields makes it a wonderful fit for the A-Sun. We look forward to building a strong partnership with the entire Northern Kentucky community as we work together on the continued growth and success of NKU and the Atlantic Sun Conference.”
NKU has won 22 regional titles and captured 71 GLVC regular-season or tournament championships. NKU has also captured the GLVC All-Sports Trophy seven times. That award is presented to the institution that demonstrates the best all-around performance in the league’s 17 sponsored sports.
The Norse also captured a fourth consecutive GLVC Commissioner’s Cup in 2010-11. That award is based on finishes in the GLVC’s seven core sports of baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, softball, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.
Reclassification to Division I athletics is a four-year process that will begin in July 2012. During this four-year period, NKU will not be eligible for NCAA championships. Following the four years, NKU will become a full Division I member.
About NKU Athletics:
The NKU intercollegiate athletics program was established in 1971 and today sponsors 17 NCAA sports: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, and women’s volleyball. The Norse have competed in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference since 1985 and have had tremendous success at the DII level, winning 22 regional titles, 71 GLVC regular-season or tournament championships and three national championships (women’s basketball 2000, 2008; men’s soccer 2010). Northern Kentucky University is located in Highland Heights, Ky., about five minutes south of Cincinnati. The university enrolls nearly 16,000 students.
About the Atlantic Sun Conference:
The Atlantic Sun Conference (A-Sun) was founded in 1978 (then known as the Trans America Athletic Conference) and is headquartered in Macon, Ga. Next year, the A-Sun will be comprised of East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, Northern Kentucky University, Stetson University, University of North Florida and the University of South Carolina Upstate.