TYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler will officially move to Division II in the NCAA after a process that lasted several months.

The college will officially announce the move at a press conference scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday.

The athletic program was officially formed in 2001 and eventually joined the NCAA at the Div. III level a few years later.

Currently, the Patriots have 15 varsity sports, including seven men's and eight women's.

With the move, UT-Tyler will be allowed to offer athletic scholarships, which is not allowed on the Div. III level.

While the Patriots will play Div. II opponents, they will not be eligible to compete for championships until September of 2021.

Athletic Director Dr. Howard Patterson says the school hopes to join the Lone Star Conference. There are currently eleven other schools in the conference, including eight Texas schools, one school in Oklahoma and two in New Mexico.

Dr. Patterson also hinted the school may work toward starting a football program, but that possibility is still a long way off.