The National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Membership Committee has validated the College of Staten Island’s third year of Division II provisional status and has approved the College for full membership status in NCAA Division II. The approval by the NCAA is based on a series of reports submitted by CSI to the NCAA, outlining the measures put in place parallel to the move, and after a site visit by an NCAA consulting group that met with CSI Interim President Dr. Timothy G. Lynch and many other members of CSI administration and the Athletics team. Fellow ECC member D’Youville University was also elevated to year three of provisional today.
Now a full Division II member, CSI joins fellow CUNY institution Queens College as the only two public institutions of higher learning in Division II athletics in the State of New York, something not lost on CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.
“Today’s affirmation by the Membership Committee is a great win for CUNY,” said Chancellor Matos Rodríguez. “It is the result of visionary efforts led by the many members of the CSI community, who have dedicated themselves to advancing their athletic program to join the region’s and nation’s elite, most notably CSI’s dynamic collection of student-athletes. NCAA Division II athletics provides a tremendous opportunity for student-athlete success and achievement, both on and off the field, and it is wonderful to see CUNY blazing a pathway to NCAA Division II.”
“Today’s decision by the NCAA is reflective of the great work our campus has done during the provisional window in preparation for our full entry into Division II,” said Dr. Lynch. “Not only am I proud of the great advancements we have made, but I am even more excited for our student-athletes to get the postseason opportunities and the full breadth of the Division II experience this upcoming year and in the years to come. We stand aligned with Division II’s commitment to academic excellence, persistence toward graduation, and providing a great competitive landscape for our Dolphins to achieve.”
“This is a monumental day for the history and future of our program,” said Interim Director of Athletics T.J. Tibbs. “All Dolphins, both former and present have played a role in the strides we have made to get to this point. Our recognition as a full member of Division II is a strong nod to our illustrious history. Because of the commitment made by all former student-athletes, coaches, admin, and support staff, we have been able to continue to build to be a desirable program for both Division II and the East Coast Conference.”
Acceptance to NCAA Division II came with a three-year provisional window, whereby the College met thresholds for success after each academic year. In Year One of the provisional period, CSI implemented its model for awarding athletic-related aid in time for the 2020-21 academic year. The institution also abided by all Division II compliance measures regarding academic eligibility. Of course, the initial year did not come without its share of challenges, namely the COVID pandemic and its effect on the entire NCAA landscape which derailed the spring sports season as CSI: Baseball, Softball, and Outdoor Track & Field programs, as well as the non-traditional Men’s & Women’s Soccer seasons. Still, CSI was able to meet sport-sponsorship thresholds in 2019-20.
Year Two for CSI saw the institution under full immersion into the NCAA Division II landscape in terms of governance, compliance, and of course, competitive schedule. While most of the on-the-field action was wiped away due to COVID-19, CSI did get spring sports back on the field, and teams adopted a full Division II schedule, most of it conference play within the East Coast Conference. Even for those teams who did not play in 2020-21, CSI complied with sport-sponsorship and with the official launch of scholarship awards to deserving student-athletes. The NCAA noted that CSI continued to successfully measure proper progress towards degree checkmarks, as well as financial aid and admissions protocols.
Year Three for CSI saw a more robust offering of Division II activities and operations, including the return of a full travel schedule, the institution of a more expansive scholarship model, and the return of revenue-generation efforts post-COVID. The program is looking forward to being a full NCAA Division II member in more ways the one. The Dolphins are now eligible to make East Coast Conference postseasons in respective sports, and NCAA Championships should they qualify.
“There are not enough thanks that can go out to our entire staff at CSI,” Tibbs went on to say. “We need to thank and recognize our former President, Dr. William J. Fritz, who started us on this journey based on his vision and his belief in our abilities to execute, and (former Director of Athletics) Charles Gomes, my predecessor, who led us through uncertain circumstances as if he had navigated them many times before. In all, we have a great group of ultimate collaborators who work for and with CSI Athletics, especially during the toughest of times as we worked to establish ourselves during this transition. Our coaches continued to represent us with pride and class as they became the face of our move. Our athletics support staff, our trainers, communications staff, gameday staff, building workers and many alike, all contributed by striving to be the best in their role and elevating the experience for our student-athletes. Last but not least our student-athletes deserve the most credit. Today is certainly their day as they can take advantage of the benefits of full Division II membership, most notably being able to compete for conference and national championships. Playoff competition is always the highlight of a team’s season and I know our student-athletes can’t wait to take their talents to the postseason.”
CSI will officially introduce the 2022-23 athletic year in mid-August, with preseason practices getting underway for Men’s & Women’s Soccer and Men’s & Women’s Cross-Country. CSI’s first official contest is scheduled for August 26, as the CSI Women’s Soccer team will open up play on the road against Franklin Pierce University.
For more information on the NCAA Statement, click here
See the full release on csidolphins.com
By: CSI Athletics