Campus reacts to DI announcement


Photo by Josh Meredith

Stan Gourd, head of men’s basketball, shakes the hand of media specialist Mike Blake after the vote to go Division I.

Fallon Heady, Staff Writer

The campus is buzzing after the university Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday to apply to transition university athletics to NCAA Division I.

Jon Mark Hall, co-chair of the Division I Exploratory Committee, emailed a Division I survey to the campus community prior to the vote on Dec. 6, 2021. The survey results showed both support and concerns regarding the transition.

Emily Kirsch, sophomore biology major, said she does not think the university “really listened to the survey.” 

Jaden Diaz, junior nursing and psychology major, said, “I dislike the decision because I feel it went against many of the faculty and students’ wishes.”

Some members of faculty expressed concerns before the vote regarding the timeline of the decision, the financial cost and what the university should be prioritizing. 

“I don’t honestly think we could go forward with this until we get our own house in order,” Shannon Pritchard, associate professor of art history, said before the vote. “There are so many things that need to be taken care of here on campus. I don’t care if they approached us, it doesn’t mean we have to respond.”

“I feel like they should have considered where the money could be better spent,” Allison Underwood, senior mathematics major with a minor in finance, said. “Better dining options, housing improvements, et cetera.”

Students and faculty feel that their concerns are not being heard or addressed. Some of the apprehension towards the transition is due to misconceptions regarding DI funding.  

Ashley Chambers, freshman computer science major, said she feels like it will be good for the university but is concerned the transition will raise tuition. 

According to the Division I Exploratory Committee, the $5.4 million cost of DI will be covered through future donations and student fees. Funds will not be taken from other programs, nor will tuition increase. 

According to the proposed student fee plan provided by the Division I Exploratory Committee, the student fee would be increased slowly to an annual amount of $475 over a four-year period. 

Some campus members are also questioning whether the university is ready to compete at the DI level. 

Tyler Henry, former member of the DI Exploratory Committee, president of Black Student Union and student-athlete, said, “Personally, the school has been ready prior to even my attendance. I’ve seen that through various successors before me and I truly salute them for paving the way to the success of the current standing of USI.”

“Truly, I think the opportunities are endless, it creates more jobs, funding, and direct influence on the culture of the student life and athletic life as well,” Henry said.