Clubs and Organizations Nielsen addresses
Vermillion Rotary The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly luncheon meeting at the Neuharth Center on the campus of USD. President David Lorenz opened the meeting and led us in the invocation. This was followed, as usual, with a round of singing, introduction of guests, and announcements. President Lorenz introduced Joel Nielsen as our speaker for the day. Joel is the director of athletics at the University of South Dakota. His presentation was an update on USD's transition to Division I athletics. He reported that USD is in the second year of the transition. He also said that USD has met all the requirements. He also said that, contrary to what has happened at many schools, we have not lost very many athletes. He attributed this fortunate circumstance to the quality of the student athletes, staff, faculty, and coaches. He also reported that USD is developing good relationships with the new athletic director at SDSU, Justin Sells. He said that the relationship is very open and cordial. He said that USD Athletics had a very good year this past year, in spite of the fact that the first year of transition is considered the most difficult. Athletic schedules will improve from this time forward. Academics among the student athletes are as strong as ever. All teams have achieved accumulatively a grade average of 3.0 or better. He also said that the teams have maintained success in sports as well. He said that conference affiliation is somewhat confusing. USD will be part of the Great West Conference for football and other sports as well for the next two years. With USD's acceptance into the Summit League, all sports, except football will be part of Division I in the Summit League. The exception is football, which will continue to be part of the Great West Conference for the time being. He also reported that there would be five home games in football this season. The opening game will be against William Penn with the remainder against Division I opponents. Joel also reminded us that the USD Athletic Auction and dinner would take place Aug. 5 in Sioux Falls. He concluded his presentation by entertaining questions from the audience.