UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 17, 2024

DSU athlete qualifications, eligibility does not hinder team unity

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Every semester new athletes from across the nation are put under the pressures of NCAA qualifications when applying to play at Dixie State University.

Qualifications will vary depending on the school division but considering DSU is Division II in athletics, students seeking to play must abide by those specified rules.

DSU Eligibility Coordinator Jaclyn Kerouac helps in that deciding process. Her job is to determine whether or not a student from a high school, junior college or four-year university meets the academic requirements set by the NCAA.

“[For freshmen]…coaches recruit [students] and I look at the [grading] scale and say ,’I think they’re going to be good’ but its not just up to me,” Kerouac said.

The individual coach recruitments, Kerouac, and senior associate athletic director-compliance Mo Ekcroth come together whenever a student is interested in playing for the Trailblazers, all while abiding to the NCAA eligibility regulations.

According to the official NCAA Division II manual, which is updated every few years, transfer students must have a grade point average above 2.0, but those credits must be transferable. And as of late the NCAA has included that student athletes must be limited to only two physical education credits with those transferable credits.

“Sometimes we have students [trying to transfer] who have credits in weight training, wrestling [or other],” Kerouac said. “The NCAA changed that credit requirement so that [universities] wouldn’t receive students who haven’t taken enough [core classes].”

When it comes to playing together transfer and freshman students might vary in years of experience, but college level sports are a whole new ball game in which both parties learn to work together.

Dominic Damato, a junior communication major from Las Vegas, has been playing for DSU soccer for three seasons now and has had various times on the field with both freshmen and transfer athletes.

“[Transfer athletes] are a part of the team… but they are here to establish themselves before they can get [a] higher role,” Damato said.

Although a transfer athlete might have previous experience playing at the collegiate level, they are not given any sense of seniority over other athletes. Transfer athletes are given the same opportunity to earn their spot on the team as anyone else entering this league. 

Zachary McCulloch, a red-shirt junior business administration major from Draper, previously played soccer for Southern Virginia University and after serving a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, made his way to DSU. 

“Coming to DSU at first was different… the school is bigger,” McCulloch said. “[And] at first there was that ‘I’m the new player’ kind of feeling, but Dixie picked me up and we became a team.”

If you or someone you know is interested in playing for DSU athletics, you can apply online through the DSU athletic page. From there if initially eligible you can be contacted by Jaclyn Kerouac for further interviewing eligibility.