Trustees push back D-I transition

Board President Pro Tem Rodney Howard and Trustee Marty Abroms discuss agenda items during the September board meeting. 

The UNA board of trustees unanimously approved a resolution to push back the Division I transition until 2014 during their quarterly meeting this morning.

The resolution will ensure that fundraising efforts for athletics will not interfere with fundraising efforts for the rest of the university. 

Athletics Director Mark Linder said that with the resolution’s approval the earliest the Lions could be competing in full-fledge NCAA D-I athletics could be 2018.

“The good thing about today’s resolution is that one, it’s unanimous and two, it allows us to go ahead with a communication strategy,” Linder said.

Linder said today’s resolution allows the university to be more aggressive in its transition strategy. 

The board of trustees passed a resolution just over one year ago to move towards D-I athletics. Today’s resolution adds a longer timeline and a budget process more conducive to a healthy transition, President Bill Cale said.

“Enough has happened in terms of private fundraising, the Gulf South Conference with a lack of an exit fee, and we have adopted that, that we can by 2014 be prepared (to make the transition)… without having any debt going forward,” Cale said.

Cale and other members of the university administration formulated the plan and resolution for the board’s approval. With the new budget model, the athletics department would be solely responsible for obtaining their own funding, not the division of university advancement. 

“This resolution does something the one a year and a half ago did not, and this is the reason that I can support this resolution, because it protects the academic interests and the students which is the primary goal and mission of this university,” said Trustee Libby Jordan. 

Look for a more in-depth story in Thursday’s issue of The Flor-Ala.