It is official – the University of South Dakota has now completed the transition to Division I. The university received a letter from the NCAA Thursday verifying that it has been approved for active Division I membership, effective at the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year.
It means the 'T' word – transition – no longer applies to Coyote athletics.
"Words cannot express how excited all the staff in this athletic program are to have received official word that South Dakota has completed its transition to NCAA Division I athletics," South Dakota athletic director David Sayler said. "This is a precursor of great things ahead for this athletic program and this University. I want to thank all of the University staff members and members of the community that helped in this process as well, for it truly has been a group effort. It is a great day to be a Coyote!"
Active membership in Division I means that all Coyote teams now have full eligibility for NCAA postseason competition, as for the last two years, only outdoor track and field was eligible to advance/compete at the NCAA National Championships. South Dakota student-athletes will also now be officially considered and ranked in the NCAA national statistics for the first time.
In March 2012, USD learned that it had successfully completed the self-study process pursuant to NCAA requirements for NCAA Division I membership. South Dakota began the transition process in 2007-08 with an exploratory year, a process that continued for the next four years.
The Coyote football program will be in its first year of competing in the Missouri Valley Football Conference this fall, while all other Coyote athletic teams are members of the Summit League.