Upstate New York College Makes Jump To Division I Athletics
The Dolphins will be swimming in tougher waters next season, as they will move their programs to the highest level of competition in the NCAA.
Le Moyne College, located in Syracuse, is moving to Division I athletics next fall. The long-time Division II athletics powerhouse has accepted the invitation to a new conference.
In a statement released by the college on Wednesday, President Linda LeMura said, “The move to Division I and the Northeast Conference is a milestone event for Le Moyne College. Since the College’s founding in 1946, athletics has been a vital component of our Jesuit ideal of cura personalis - care for the mind, body and soul. By making this move, we are building on a strong foundation of excellence that has been a hallmark of our student-athletes and our programs.”
The jump from Division II to Division I used to be a years-long process. However, in the new NCAA, things move a little quicker. According to the statement by the college, the move takes effect July 1st and LeMoyne will begin competing in the NEC this fall. NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris commented, “During our membership evaluation process, it became abundantly clear there was tremendous mission alignment between the NEC and Le Moyne from an academic, athletic and community perspective...Due to their significant planning and preparation, it’s evident the Dolphins are poised to make the jump to Division I. We look forward to kicking off our relationship this fall.”
The quick turnaround is aggressive but not surprising in today's NCAA landscape. Conferences like the NEC are desperate for membership. The Northeast Conference lost former-member St. Francis-Brooklyn earlier this year when the institution declared that they were shutting down their athletic department completely following the spring semester, going from Division I to nothing in a few months. Do the benefits of being a Division I program outweigh the astronomical increases in expenses over being a Division II program? Not sure. There are truly strong arguments on both sides. One thing is for sure, LeMoyne has always had a strong athletic program and this commitment will only enhance their national profile. Go Dolphins and good luck!