HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has been granted active status as a Division I institution by the NCAA.
“This is an exciting day for Northern Kentucky University,” said NKU President Geoffrey S. Mearns. “I would like to thank each member of the NKU community, as well as our supporters throughout the region, who worked to make this possible. I am particularly proud that the NCAA committee which oversaw the four-year reclassification process commended our commitment to excellence every step of the way. As with everything that we do, we did not strive to merely meet the minimum requirements—we fulfilled our promise to lead with excellence, and will continue to do so."
With active status Northern Kentucky is a full Division I member and NKU’s student-athletes have the opportunity to compete for berths into NCAA championships.
“This is a special moment for the university, department of athletics and our student-athletes,” said Ken Bothof, Director of Athletics. “The move to Division I athletics provides the platform for our student-athletes to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics. Thank you to the former student-athletes, coaches and administrators who built the foundation that put us in the position for both current and future Norse to experience success at this level. It’s a great day to be a Norse.”
NKU’s transition to Division I status came after a successful run at the DII level that included three national championships – two in women’s basketball and one in men’s soccer – as well as numerous regional and conference titles across all seventeen programs.
In a press conference on Dec. 8, 2011, Northern Kentucky announced its plan to move to Division I. The Norse started the four-year reclassification process with the opening of the 2012-13 campaign.
Northern Kentucky’s programs experienced substantial success during that period, which culminated this year as members of the Horizon League. Not only did the men’s basketball team exceed expectations in the league last season, but the women’s basketball program secured its 33rd-conseuctive winning campaign and fourth-straight appearance in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
Women’s soccer, volleyball and women’s basketball also reached the semifinals of their league tournaments, while women’s soccer player Macy Hamblin was named the Horizon League Player of the Year, league Offensive Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Soccer News Net College Boot Award presented to the national player of the year. Emily Grubb was named the Most Outstanding Field Performer at this year’s Horizon League outdoor track & field championship. And, the women’s golf team claimed a runner-up showing in its league championship, finishing a mere three strokes shy of first-place.
“As someone who has been here since year one of the transition, it is an incredible honor to be able to compete for a chance to play in the NCAA tournament this year,” said Taylor Snyder, a redshirt-senior setter for the volleyball team. “It is something I’ve looked forward to since the first day I arrived on campus freshman year! NKU and NKU Athletics have grown tremendously over the four-year transition period and I’m very excited to see what we will accomplish this year.”
Northern Kentucky is entering its second year in the Horizon League and its fifth year playing Division I schedules in all sports.