Division I fate in trustees’ hands

Will we or won’t we?

The University of the Incarnate Word’s possible bid to seek Division I status in athletics is now in the hands of UIW’s Board of Trustees.

Dr. Louis J. Agnese Jr., UIW’s president for the past 25 years, is going to report the results of a student survey on the issue at the Dec. 9 board meeting. Agnese had said earlier that if UIW goes Division I a national search for a football coach would be conducted. That search already is under way.

The Logos was unable to get official results of the survey conducted via Blackboard the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving. However, the San Antonio Express-News reported that 63 percent of those polled favored the move but 56 percent did not support a fee increase of $100 a semester. It was reported an estimated 10 percent of the full-time undergraduate population participated.

Signs posted around campus informed students of the advantages of going Division 1 and even mentioned some capital improvements that could be made such as “additional classrooms, computer labs and study areas, an upgraded recreation facility, an upgraded basketball and volleyball-playing venue, etc.”

If UIW shoots for Division I, the university would apply for membership in the Football Championship Subdivision, allowing UIW to align with schools comparable in academics and athletics stature such as Southern Methodist University, Baylor University and Texas Christian University. UIW also would have to join a conference that would allow the university to compete against similar schools.

Should UIW decide for a transition to Division I, the university plans to apply for membership into the Southland Conference. That could lead to national TV exposure depending on the opponent.

“Having television coverage would provide an unprecedented amount of national exposure to our university, which would benefit all departments across the university,” according to a UIW statement.

Jonathan Guajardo, president of the Student Government Association and a member of UIW’s Board of Trustees, said the “full results of the survey should be officially published soon.” Guajardo said, “The D1 Survey that SGA conducted last week is very important to this campus. It provides the UIW administrators and board of trustees valuable insight into the thought process of the student body and lets them know what we, as the students, think about this issue.”

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