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PUC to drop to NAIA Division II

Published: Monday, November 13, 2006

Updated: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 15:09

It's official. Both the PUC men's and women's basketball teams will transfer from Division I to Division II in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. This move will be effective for the 2007-2008 basketball seasons. This transfer of divisions came about because of a void in Division II, according to Rob Jensen, assistant vice chancellor of health, recreation and sports. Conferences must contain at least six schools in order to qualify for an automatic berth to the national tournament and for the past few years a new school was needed in the Division II women's league. PUC will fill that void and balance out the conference as the sixth member. Jensen admits that PUC is moving down in divisions and did not originally intend to. The conference looked towards Michigan and Wisconsin for another member but was unable to find one. Sports information coordinator Dave Fanno assures that Division II won't be a cake walk. "It's not that we can't beat the teams [in our conference], it's just that it's difficult to do it year in and year out," said Fanno. Moving down in divisions is intended to give PUC a greater chance at winning the conference and getting a spot at the national tournament. "It will give athletes a little more to shoot at," said Jensen. One of the main differences between Division I and Division II is the amount of scholarship money that can be awarded to players. Division I schools may award up to 12 full ride scholarships, while Division II schools are limited to eight. According to Jensen, PUC has an annual budget of between $30,000 and $35,000 for scholarships for each team, ranking PUC last in scholarship support among the other Division I schools, but middle-of-the-pack of the Division II associations. Because the schools are closer to campus, the travel budget will be lessened and there will presumably be better promotion because of the new competition. Jensen said that he can see no disadvantages with the move. Fanno added that by having a better shot at the championship PUC will be able to draw in more talented athletes, as well as an improved crowd and better win-loss records. "This will help us start a better tradition," said Fanno. In Division II, PUC will compete against Calumet College of St. Joseph, PNC and Trinity International University, among others. Although they would not count towards the conference, PUC would still like to continue to play as many Division I teams as possible during its pre-conference schedule.

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