The big plan by University of Arkansas at Fort Smith Chancellor Paul Beran to enter the NCAA has been rejected.
Moving to Division II would elevate the level of play for baseball, basketball, volleyball, golf and other UAFS sports. According to the NCAA Division II website, there are 293 member institutions in the division, with 52% being public universities. Of the 293 members, 120 have student populations below 2,499, 124 are between 2,500 and 7,499, and 44 are above 7,500.
UAFS reported a little more than 6,800 students in its Spring 2010 semester.
According to a UAFS statement released late Thursday (Aug. 5), third-year athletic director Dustin Smith was notified Thursday that the university’s appeal of an earlier decision by the NCAA Division II membership committee denying UAFS full-membership status had been denied by the Division II management council.
“Obviously, we are very disappointed in the decision regarding our appeal,” Smith said in the UAFS statement. “We presented a very strong case, and the council gave it very strong consideration but could not grant our appeal. Regardless, our commitment to academic and athletic success here at UA Fort Smith remains our focus as we continue to move forward in this process to attain full-membership status as a Division II program.”
The membership committee’s initial denial was solely based on UAFS not meeting the minimum number of 10 university-sponsored sports required for full NCAA membership, noted the UAFS statement.
The statement noted: “UA Fort Smith does sponsor 10 sports. However, two sports did not have the minimum number of participants required to be considered a sport by NCAA standards. Therefore, the membership committee ruled that UA Fort Smith only had eight sports and had not met all requirements for full-membership status.”
The management council’s decision is final, but UAFS can request full-membership status again following the 2010-11 season.
“We at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith are committed to completing this process over the next year and becoming a full recognized member in good standing in NCAA Division II and in the Heartland Conference,” Beran said in the statement.
UAFS will again compete as a provisional member of Division II and will again not be eligible to compete for regular-season championships or participate in postseason play. The university will continue to play the Heartland Conference regular-season schedule in each of its 10 sports this upcoming season.