TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The University of Texas at Tyler is hoping to join over 300 other school across the country in Division II athletics. Friday morning, the school submitted a formal application to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
After realizing how much the school has grown, the school has worked for over a year to meet certain requirements to send in their application.
"We felt like the opportunity to go to Division II and offer athletic scholarships," Athletic Director Howard Patterson said. "[We felt] the timing was right to do that."
Currently UT Tyler is ranked as a Division III school, but the administration believes that gaining Division II status will not only benefit student athletes, but will help the general student body's college experience as well.
"We believe that Division II athletics will bring a higher level of excitement to the games," Chief Communications Officer Lucas Roebuck said. "We know that D2 sports will increase our school spirit."
Some of the main differences between a Division III and Division II school are the opportunities to play bigger and more competitive schools, and offer scholarships to athletes. However, some students have concerns about becoming a Division II school.
"I think it's going to do more harm, because it's going to definitely add to the school's debt," Track & Field and Cross-Country athlete Nathan Adams said. "It's going to make the school more expensive to go to."
Should the school gain D2 status, all sports will not be eligible for post season competitions like championship tournaments. Then the school will be placed on probation for three years before gaining full Division II status
"Well, it sort of like enrages me," Adams said.
Other student athletes are happy about the possibility to gain scholarships opportunities.
"I mean D2 and D1 get paid, [junior college] get free school, we don't get nothing," Track & Field and Cross-Country athlete Mack Hamilton said. "We might as well get paid."
The school will receive notice of whether or not their application was accepted some time in June or July of this year. Division II status will make UT Tyler eligible for a football team, however, Patterson says it will be a while before the school looks into such a big financial project.