University upgrade won’t alter Division II status

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As the university status makes its way to Dixie State College, there will be no change in the athletic program; Red Storm stay to compete in the Division II level.

Athletic Director Jason Boothe said DSC changing to a university doesn’t have anything to do with whether the athletics program is advancing or not.

There are many schools across the nation that are representing as universities but only have a Division II status. Some examples of those schools are some Dixie students see challenging the Red Storm on their own fields and in their own courts. 

Chaminade University, Fresno Pacific University and California Baptist University are just a few examples of universities in DSC’s own conference that stay competing at the Division II level as universities.

The big factor keeping DSC at this level is the amount of funding put toward the athletic program. Most Division I schools have approximately $15 million for their athletic programs, and there are many things Dixie State needs to act on to start working up that chain. 

Boothe said it is possible for Dixie to be Division I, but it is a long shot. He said if it did happen, it would be years away because of the amount of money it costs. One of the many reasons it costs so much money is because of the amount of scholarships given to student athletes.

Lewis Sharpe, a sophomore secondary education major from Blanding, said it is best Dixie State is staying Division II.

“I believe it would benefit the athletic program and school as a whole to continue at the Division II level because it would allow us to compete and perform at a reasonable level of competition,” Sharpe said.

Boothe said even if the school was presented the opportunity, there is an option to use that money to be a more effective Division II athletic program.

“The fact that you have more money doesn’t necessarily mean that you should go Division I, or that you need to,” Boothe said. “I think here in this location, being Division I would certainly be a very positive thing and something very good for this community, but there’s a lot that goes into it that most people on the outside don’t realize.” 

Boothe said there are some negatives with being Division I.

“Division I is the fancy car,” Boothe said. “But it also has a lot of things that aren’t as fun. It’s got the pressure, and it’s got the ugliness in the recruiting battles. It’s more of a big business—make money and win versus the education part of it. And I think that’s why Dixie State, right now, fits with Division II.”

Taylor Yeates, a freshman nursing major from St. George, said with Dixie’s skill level, it is best to stay Division II.

“The school would have no competition if we progress higher,” Yeates said. “We don’t have the talent right now to progress. We need to learn and progress and build the talent to be Division I.”

There are programs that are extremely successful at this level of competition. Grand Valley State, a school in Allendale, Mich., had a Division II football team that surprised many people at the national level. The Lakers went undefeated in 2002, claimed 11 All-American slots that year, and had a player win the Harlon Hill Trophy, which is the top honor in Division II. Since 2002, Grand Valley has won 14 championships.

There are both positives and negatives to staying at the Division II level, but Boothe said no one knows what the future will hold. Right now the athletic program needs to focus on being successful in its position.

“Spending a lot of time worrying about Division I, and trying to go that route, would be a waste of our efforts at this point,” Boothe said.

But he also said the college is doing great things that people never thought would happen 10 years ago, so the chance of DSC changing to a Division I athletic program could happen whether expected or not.

“It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility,” Boothe said.