FORT MYERS, Fla. – The wait is over. After transitioning into Division I over the last four years, Florida Gulf Coast University was officially approved for active Division I membership on Thursday, beginning with the current 2011-12 academic year.
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved the recommendation from the NCAA Division I Administration Cabinet to elect FGCU to Division I active membership effective immediately. FGCU began its transition into Division I in 2007-08.
“This long-awaited good news from the NCAA, that FGCU has been awarded full NCAA Division I membership, is a testament to the vision and hard work of dozens of dedicated men and women at the university,” said FGCU President Dr. Bradshaw.
“Then president Bill Merwin and former athletic director Carl McAloose were instrumental in establishing membership in Division I as a goal,” Bradshaw continued. “Athletic director Ken Kavanagh—along with the NCAA Certification Review Steering Committee led by Dr. Peg Gray-Vickery—ensured that FGCU earned full active membership in NCAA Division I athletics.
“This is a proud day for the university and for all those who support athletics at Florida Gulf Coast University. Go Eagles!”
Since officially joining the Atlantic Sun Conference and the Division I ranks on May 10, 2006, FGCU has claimed 10 Atlantic Sun regular season titles, three consecutive Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) championships and seen five of its programs crack the national rankings or receive votes. The men’s soccer program’s recent preseason ranking of No. 14 in the nation by Goal.com is the highest national-ranking in school history.
Despite the recent approval from the NCAA, this year won’t be the first time FGCU squads can qualify for Atlantic Sun and NCAA postseason play. During the transition process, FGCU was allowed to fast-track a men’s and women’s program (non-basketball) to be fully Division I eligible over the final two years. Women’s volleyball and baseball were selected and both appeared in their respective A-Sun Tournaments in 2009-10.
“We are so appreciative for the tremendous leadership that we have been provided from Dr. Bradshaw, Dr. Peg Gray-Vickery and the numerous others who comprised the Steering Committee and three sub-committees,” said FGCU Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. “This has been an extremely healthy process for our entire intercollegiate athletics program in terms of confirming our placement within the University Mission and in maintaining our daily commitment to ensure that we fulfill this important responsibility, especially via the serving of our quality student-athletes.
We now excitedly move forward with all our teams now eligible for the competitive end goal of not only participating in NCAA post-season play, but to do so in a manner that we are prepared to advance.”