Excitement filled the air at UIW on July 1 as UIW President Dr. Louis Agnese and Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett raised the conference flag, officially commemorating the university’s first day in the NCAA Division 1 Southland Conference (SLC).
Held on Dubuis Lawn, hundreds of Cardinals fans cheered at the celebration marking the first day of a new era at UIW. The university was previously a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference.
“This is a truly historic day for UIW,” said Agnese. “We’re pleased and honored to officially become a member of the Southland Conference.”
UIW begins the four-year shift to Division I with the Southland Conference’s assistance and oversight. It is expected that UIW will begin counting as an NCAA Division I team for scheduling purposes in 2014-15, and will be fully eligible for NCAA Championship events in 2017-18. In total, UIW sponsors 21 teams in nine men’s and 10 women’s sports more than any other NCAA Division II school in the State of Texas.
UIW’s journey to Division 1 began July 20, 2012 when UIW hosted a four-person delegation from the SLC. The visit familiarized the delegation and its members with the university and Cardinals athletics.