Volleyball and wrestling to compete at DI level

From Staff And Wire Reports

From Staff And Wire Reports

Two sports at South Dakota State University have been granted fast-track authority to compete in NCAA postseason competitions at the Division I level, the school said in a release.

The NCAA membership subcommittee has formally approved SDSU’s request to fully reclassify its women’s volleyball and men’s wrestling programs to Division I status beginning in the 2006-07 academic year.

SDSU is in the second year of a five-year process of reclassifying from NCAA Division II to Division I. All other Jackrabbit teams will become eligible for NCAA postseason competition in the 2008-09 school year.

The NCAA told SDSU on Aug. 12 that institutions reclassifying their entire athletic programs to Division I could select one male and one female sport other than football or basketball for fast-track reclassification. SDSU then completed the necessary paperwork and included the proposal in the school’s strategic plan before the Sept. 1 deadline.

“We are very excited to reclassify in two years instead of four,” said SDSU wrestling coach Jason Liles. “High school seniors will be able to redshirt their first year and then have four years to qualify for the postseason.”

The reclassification is also a huge boost to forming a wrestling conference with schools such as North Dakota State University, Northern Colorado and Southern Utah. They are also in discussion with Fresno State, Northern Iowa, Air Force, Wyoming and Eastern Illinois. SDSU will wrestle some of these schools this season, which opens on Nov. 6 with the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open at Frost Arena.

North Dakota State University and Northern Colorado also have been told their requests for wrestling and volleyball reclassification have been granted.

At NDSU, wrestling was picked because it made the original push to limit the probation.

On the women’s side, volleyball was selected because of the opportunity to generate revenue, its marketability and the fact that it generally is a core sport in Division I conferences, said Gene Taylor, Bison athletic director.

The most important benefit is recruiting. The next recruiting class NDSU wrestling coach Bucky Maughan signs will, after a redshirt season, be eligible for the Division I wrestling tournament.

“Tournaments are everything for wrestling,” Maughan said.

Volleyball coach Zandra Bina said the ruling could have a big impact on potential recruits from the area that might have been worried about being eligible for playoffs.

“For the ones who looked at that as a negative, well, it won’t be a negative anymore,” she said.

Collegian Sports Editor Faith Moldan contributed to this report.