Minot State clears final hurdle, earns membership into NCAA
Minot State University officials breathed a sigh of relief as the National Collegiate Athletic Association approved its application for full membership in NCAA Division II.
The university learned of its status with the NCAA during the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference's annual meetings in St. Cloud, Minn. Minot State was officially accepted into the NSIC July 1 and will begin play in both the NSIC and the NCAA Division II this fall.
"It is certainly a relief to know we cleared the final hurdle," said MSU Athletic Director Rick Hedberg. "It was a tough test to pass, but we did it with flying colors. There are many individuals on this campus who worked very hard to complete this goal. This is something the entire campus can celebrate."
The announcement officially completes a demanding three-year application process that, according to MSU President David Fuller, has been ongoing even before the university entered into the first phase in 2009.
"Even before we were notified by the selection committee that we were accepted into the process, we had been working on getting ready," Fuller said. "That helped prepare us. And, really, the transition period has helped prepare us for full membership. It was certainly a pain at times, but it sets us up for what we are expected to do in the future.
Minot State played its athletic contests in 2011-12 as an independent institution in NCAA. During the third year, Minot State was expected to conduct itself as an NCAA institution following all rules and regulations set forth for full-fledged NCAA Division II schools, but was unable to participate in postseason play.
"We are excited to get to start playing games in the Northern Sun and as a full NCAA Division II institution," said Hedberg. "For the past year especially, you start to get caught up in getting forms in and working on reports. We can now concentrate on succeeding in the NSIC."
Minot State is set to join the University of Sioux Falls as expansion members of the prestigious Northern Sun, pushing the league to 16 member institutions. The NSIC will split into north and south divisions in football and men's and women's basketball this upcoming season.
"Getting this designation and getting into the Northern Sun were pivotal goals for our university," Fuller said. "We want to raise the bar across the university and the NCAA and the NSIC allow us to do that. It is not just an athletic move, but a part of our Vision 2013 goals. The NCAA calls athletics the front door to your university in the eyes of the community and we feel the NCAA Division II's theme of ‘Life in the Balance' matches well with what we are doing as an institution."