UT-Tyler announces NCAA Division II status

VIDEO: UT Tyler now NCAA Division II school

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - After a yearlong vetting process, the University of Texas at Tyler has obtained National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II status.

UT-Tyler President Michael Tidwell made the announcement at 3 p.m Friday. According to the university, the announcement is part of their plans to move to Division II athletics.

"We are ready to raise the profile of our athletic programs here at UT-Tyler," Tidwell said.

The university applied for the NCAA Division II membership in February in order to bring "more excitement to athletics events," as stated in a media report.  The university also said the membership would provide new opportunities for scholarships.

"Our athletic programs have never been stronger, and we are ready for the challenge of NCAA Division II competition," Tidwell said. "UT Tyler's mission aligns well with the student-athlete philosophy of NCAA Division II. We know the higher level of excitement will enhance student engagement and create scholarship opportunities — both leading to improved student success."

UT-Tyler is expected to join the Lone Star Conference.

During a three-year transitional period, UT-Tyler teams are not allowed to compete for NCAA championships, the university said in a statement.

Several coaches also weighed in on the transition.

Adam Cohen – Tennis Head Coach
"I am looking forward to a number of things, including a higher level of competition and athletic scholarships. I believe our thriving University, administrative leadership, dedicated coaches and committed student athletes will be the foundation of our success."

Lyndsay Mashe – Volleyball Head Coach
"We are really looking forward to the Division II transition as we will be joining one of the best conferences in the country. It's an opportunity for our student-athletes to play against the best of Division II. The ability to be able to give athletic scholarships will be a huge plus for our program. I think UT Tyler will thrive at this level because we have great support from the University, a top-notch athletics program, and amazing facilities. Our student-athletes also will get a great education while becoming a part of a family atmosphere."

Brent Porche – Baseball Head Coach
"We are looking forward to the opportunity to compete at a higher level. We are excited about what that means for our program and our players. There's no more perfect time for our program to make this transition then after winning our first National Championship in Division III. We were able to attract some of the best student-athletes in Division III baseball and expect to be able to do the same as a Division II program. We are looking forward to the new challenge."

Stefani Webb – Women's Soccer Head Coach
"What an exciting time to be a Patriot. Ever since I walked onto this campus we have worked hard as a department to continue to provide great student-athlete experiences, and I think this move to NCAA Division II is just another example of the commitment of our institution to take a huge step not only for our student athletes, but also for the entire UT Tyler community."

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