Maryville University Athletics Reclassifying to NCAA Division II
ST. LOUIS – Maryville University has been granted permission by the NCAA to begin the reclassification process for its 13 intercollegiate teams from Division III to Division II effective September 1, 2008. NCAA Division II Membership Services confirmed July 23, 2008 to Maryville’s Director of Athletics Tony Duckworth that the Division II Management Council accepted the recommendation by the Membership Committee.
The timeline to reclassify to NCAA Division II will be a three year process. After successful completion of the two year exploratory period, Maryville must be invited to enter the provisional year and Maryville’s readiness to become an active member will continue to be evaluated. At the conclusion of three year process, Maryville must be invited to active Division II membership.
“Moving to Division II is an important step in our overall strategic plan of transforming Maryville University, expanding our student recruitment throughout the Midwest and in providing the very best in athletics competition for our students. Our Board of Trustees and campus community knows NCAA Division II alignment will greatly assist us in achieving our vision for Maryville in 2014,” stated Maryville University President Mark Lombardi.
Tradition and Transformation: Maryville’s Strategic Plan for 2014 was unveiled by President Lombardi in January 2008. The strategic plan provides a blueprint for Maryville’s transformation from one of the finest universities in St. Louis to one of the truly great universities in the Midwest.
“During the life of this plan, Maryville will continue its commitment to academic excellence while raising our profile and greatly expanding the vibrancy and diversity of our campus life experience,” stated President Lombardi.
Jeffery D. Miller, vice president for enrollment added, “From an enrollment standpoint, we know that by moving to NCAA Division II we will align with similar universities who recruit regionally and recognize the need to balance the role of the athletics program to serve both the campus and the general public. We’ll be able to leverage enrollment without compromising academic standards.”
“This is an exciting move for our institution. NCAA Division II places a strong emphasis on academics and developing the whole person which mirrors our philosophy at Maryville. Moving to Division II will greatly enhance the overall collegiate experience for both our student-athletes and non-student athletes on many levels,” stated Dr. Nina D. Caldwell, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students.
“As Director of Athletics this has been an exciting year for me and our department,” said Duckworth. “The reclassification process is going to be challenging, but given the commitment from the Maryville community, I anticipate a successful transition. This is going to be great for our University.”
During July 2007, President Lombardi and Duckworth began discussing how athletics should be part of the Maryville University Strategic Plan. The primary focus was on conference affiliation, division alignment, enrollment, institutional branding and image, and the student-athlete experience. During September 2007, Dr. Lombardi appointed Dr. Nina Caldwell, Vice President of Student Life, to chair an Athletics Task Force to evaluate the future of athletics at Maryville University.
Over the next few months, extensive research was compiled through the athletics department and the Athletics Task Force. Duckworth formally presented the data to the President’s Advisory Council in December 2007 and to the Board of Trustees in January 2008. Throughout the spring, meetings were held with various groups on campus and in March 2008, Maryville submitted application to the NCAA for reclassification to NCAA Division II.
Maryville has been a member of NCAA Division III since 1978, and 2008-2009 will be its final year of affiliation with the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Over its 30 year history, the Saints have made 13 appearances in NCAA post-season tournaments. Most recently, the women’s basketball 2007-08 team set the NCAA Division III record for most consecutive conference wins with 76; a streak that is still active.