STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Reclassification from NCAA Division II to Division I is complete as Tarleton State University becomes the ninth full-time member of the Western Athletic Conference effective today, July 1, 2020.
Tarleton accepted an invitation to join the WAC and move to NCAA Division I in November 2019.
The Texans were in the Lone Star Conference (NCAA Division II) from 1994-2020 and won 36 LSC championships, nine LSC tournament championships and 14 NCAA regional championships across 14 NCAA sports. The Texans also have eight individual national championships in track and field.
Tarleton joins California Baptist University, Chicago State University, Dixie State University, Grand Canyon University, New Mexico State University, Seattle University, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Utah Valley University. Dixie State also is transitioning from Division II to Division I.
Thirteen of Tarleton’s 14 sports will compete in the WAC, while the football program will compete as an independent at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level. Tarleton is expected to add more NCAA intercollegiate sports during the transition, including women’s soccer.
The Texans will not immediately be eligible for WAC postseason competition in any sport in which the winner is the league’s automatic qualifier for an NCAA championship. Tarleton will be eligible for cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field conference championships beginning in 2020-21.
The university may participate individually in the WAC women’s golf championships beginning in 2021, but only as unattached entries. In golf, Tarleton will not be eligible for the league’s automatic team or individual qualifier to the NCAA Division I women’s championship.
Tarleton will be immediately eligible, however, to win regular-season titles in all sports sponsored by the WAC.
The WAC was formed in 1962 and crowns team and individual champions in 19 sports — eight men’s, 11 women’s. Headquarters is in the Denver metropolitan area.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
John Sharp, Texas A&M University System Chancellor
“President Hurley’s bold vision to take Tarleton to Division I isn’t just about athletics; it will raise the profile of an already great school. This move will let folks everywhere see what we already know — Tarleton State University is a great place to get your degree and change your life.”
Dr. James Hurley, Tarleton State University President
“What a historic day for Tarleton State University. We are next level ready — Tarleton is going Division I. I would like to thank our students, Chancellor John Sharp and The Texas A&M University System, the faculty, staff, our communities and alumni for the incredible support in making this move possible. I would also like to thank WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd, his staff and the WAC presidents for welcoming us with open arms. We look forward to raising the institutional profile of Tarleton State University at the NCAA Division I level.”
Lonn Reisman, Tarleton Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics
“To see Tarleton move from an NAIA school to a Division I university in 30 years is a testament to The Texas A&M University System, our student body, administration, alumni and fans. This is a historic time for Tarleton State University and the beginning of great things ahead. We are not a small college any more. We are a major university.”
Jeff Hurd, WAC Commissioner
“Since its acceptance of the invitation to join the WAC, Tarleton State University’s first official day as a conference member has been eagerly anticipated. On behalf of the conference it is a great pleasure to welcome Tarleton President James Hurley and the entire University family to the WAC for the start of a mutually beneficial relationship for many years to come.”
Doug Svien, Stephenville Mayor
“Tarleton has a major economic impact on the city. Tarleton boosts city revenue and has a big impact for the businesses. From an economic perspective, it’s an enormous impact. Going Division I will make it even more so. Being a Division I university will enable Tarleton to grow, which will make Stephenville grow and have that much more influence on our economy.”
Dr. Eileen Faulkenberry, Tarleton Faculty Athletics Representative
“Not only will joining the Western Athletic Conference as a Division I school raise our university’s profile athletically, it will raise our profile academically. The visibility we gain will make Tarleton more noticeable to a whole host of students across the nation who have not previously heard about the ‘best kept secret in Texas.’ “