Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
NCAA Division I
Q & A

In 2005, Chancellor Vandegrift charged the Intercollegiate Athletics Task Force (IATF), a committee including students, faculty, staff, community leaders, and alumni, to study the future of SIUE's athletics program as it relates to the strategic plan. This charge was a follow-up to a recommendation made by a university-wide task force in 2000 that had studied the future of SIUE athletics and recommended a repeat study in 2005. The IATF considered the pros and cons of three options: enhancing further participation in NCAA Division II; combining Division II with some Division I programs; and participating at the Division I level in all of SIUE sports. The IATF released its final report in January 2007. The IATF report is available online at www.siuecougars.com.

Q: Why does SIUE seek to reclassify its athletics program?

After carefully considering the IATF report, including supporting documentation and public comment session summaries, the Chancellor determined that a reclassification to NCAA Division I moves SIUE closer to obtaining its vision of being recognized nationally for the quality of its programs, and development of professional and community leaders. SIUE is nationally recognized for its high-quality academic programs. NCAA Division I will allow SIUE student athletes to compete at the highest level of competition, and enhance SIUE athletics recognition on a local, regional, and national level.

Q: SIUE has made the decision to seek NCAA Division I status. What's next?

SIUE will establish an implementation task force to develop a detailed plan of the multi-year transition process. SIUE will submit its formal application for reclassification to the NCAA by June 1, 2007 and inform the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) of its intention. SIUE will then seek Division I conference affiliation. Following NCAA approval, the University will begin an "exploratory period," which will span the 2007-08 academic year. In this phase, all SIUE sports will continue to compete in the GLVC at the Division II level. Progress toward Division I compliance requirements will be evaluated.

Q: Why does the transition process take multiple years?

The one-year exploratory period is followed by a multi-year transition in "reclassification status" in which SIUE must comply with all NCAA Division I rules and legislation. The process begins with the submission of a Division I application to the NCAA in May 2007 and will conclude in 2012, with SIUE as an active Division I institution. In fall 2012, SIUE athletics teams will be fully eligible to participate in NCAA Division I championship events. During the transition period, SIUE must develop a strategic plan and update it each year; attend NCAA meetings and rules workshops; and demonstrate progressive compliance with Division I requirements for minimum number of sports, gender equity, financial aid, and academic standards.

Q: How is the athletics program affected during the transition process?

The process will afford SIUE enough time to make a smooth transition. There is an NCAA-mandated certification process for all Division I institutions for the evaluation of internal processes. This is an opportunity to further strengthen the athletics department, evaluate processes, and incorporate changes.

Q: Is conference affiliation being considered?

The IATF found that Division I conference affiliation would be necessary to meet the NCAA Division I schedule requirements. SIUE will explore conference options to fulfill this requirement.

Q: How will this affect academic performance of student athletes?
In accordance with the IATF's commitment to maintaining SIUE's academic integrity as the highest priority, student athlete academic success will remain a primary consideration. The 2006-07 academic year average ACT of an incoming student-athlete was 23.1. In the 2005-06 academic year, 70 percent of SIUE athletic teams had an average team grade point average above 3.0. SIUE's average student-athlete graduation rate, which includes non-recruited walk-ons, is 70 percent. When using the Division I criteria of Graduation Success Rate, which excludes walk-ons, the graduation rate is 81 percent. Furthermore, Division I academic standards are more stringent in initial eligibility for entering freshmen and for continuing eligibility.

Q: What are the costs associated with this reclassification to Division I?

  • There will be a $15,000 NCAA fee at the time SIUE submits its application. Additional costs (both travel and logistical expenses) will be incurred during the reclassification process for participation in activities mandated by the NCAA.
  • Exit fees to the GLVC currently are stated at $25,000.
  • The Athletics Department's annual operating budget (beyond the costs directly related to the reclassification process), is expected to increase by an estimated 66 percent and scholarship support is expected to increase by an estimated 37 percent by the 2011-12 academic year.

    Q: How will this be paid for?

    No new student fees will be collected in 2007. Funding will come primarily from student fees ($150 per year, phased in over a three-year period, beginning in 2008) and community support. Student fee increases will be subject to SIU Board of Trustee policy, SIUE policy, and the annual student fee review process.

    Q: Will any SIUE sports be added or dropped as a result of reclassification?

    No programs currently offered will be eliminated. New sports will not be added, unless required for conference participation.

    Q: Are there any plans to add football?

    Not at this time. 

    Q: Will any of the existing facilities need to be upgraded, enlarged, or renovated?

    While there are existing plans to make repairs to Korte Stadium and the Vadalabene Center, the IATF determined that SIUE's current facilities meet and/or exceed current NCAA Division I requirements.