|President Kupchella addresses Division I transition|
June 18, 2007
TO: All members of the UND Campus Community:
As you are well aware, the University of North Dakota will be entering its “official” exploratory year for its transition to Division I on July 1, 2007. This upcoming year will be the last year we will be able to compete for Division II championships in all of our sports other than men's and women's hockey; the first year of competing for NCAA championships at Division I fully, in all sports will be the 2012-13 academic year.
This is an exciting time for the University and its athletics department. We have had a long history and tradition of excellence here at UND in our 20 sport program. Our student athletes have excelled in both the classroom and in their respective competitive arenas. Every semester for the past five years, UND student athletes have had a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. As a matter of fact, this past spring semester 34% -- 146 of 433 -- of our UND student-athletes had grade point averages of 3.5 or above. We also had 14 of 20 teams qualify for post-season championship competition in their respective sports. We finished fifth in the nation in the Division II Directors Cup competition this year.
Last fall I appointed a Commission to assist with the transition to Division I and this group forwarded its report to me. It had many component recommendations on just how the campus should engage the transition process. We will be naming a transition team and campus advisory group to assist with navigating the challenging move over the next five years.
The pro-forma outlined by Carr Sports Associates, a firm we hired to assist us in this process, recommended to increase the institution's commitment to the athletics department. We determined that to maintain our competitiveness in the program we must increase funding for this move from three sources: student fees, institutional sources, and external fund-raising/new streams of revenue.
Student fees will be raised by $35/semester for academic year 2007-08 and by a currently projected $37/semester for 2008-09. Because tuition will increase 5% next year, and because certain other fees and costs will not increase at all, the total increase for tuition, room, board and mandatory fees will increase only 4.2% this upcoming academic year, even with the increased student fee for athletics. The revenue derived from the student fee (an estimated $850,500 next year) will be matched by an equal amount from other University sources. We are projecting an additional $2,025,000 in new annual external support by the 2012-13 academic year. We already have received new commitments of $5 million toward our endowment supporting athletics. Raising an athletic endowment to the level of at least $25 million will be one of the objectives of the University's overall campaign to raise our total endowment to the level of $500 million.
We are making a huge investment in our athletic enterprise, but it is a critical one. The move to Division I will give the University of North Dakota a platform to help raise the visibility of the campus. With the dwindling demographics of the high school population in the state, we need to continue to recruit outside our borders. Division I athletics will provide the campus a great showcase and some valuable leverage by which to illuminate the entire UND story nationwide and globally.
We will need the continued support of all our stakeholders as we solidify our top 100 ranking for UND in all aspects, including athletics.
University of North Dakota