TYLER - Back in 2001, UT Tyler decided it was time to add an athletics program and a few years later, they were full-fledged members of NCAA Division III.
After more than a decade at the DIII level, the Patriots have decided its time to make a move. And on Friday, they turned in their application to make the move up to Division II.
The biggest difference for UT Tyler could come away from the field. Division II schools are allowed to offer athletic scholarships, something DIII schools can't do. It also means they'll be playing tougher competition and, since there are less DII schools, taking longer road trips.
UT Tyler Athletic Director Dr. Howard Patterson says, "We're excited to be matched up with a lot of schools that are similar size and mission, state schools, and that have great athletic reputations, so we are excited to be moving in that direction."
While this move is good for the future of the school, it will come at a cost for the current athletes. During this 3 year transition, UT Tyler won't be eligible to compete for NCAA titles.
Dr. Patterson says, "It is a difficult time for the players and we certainly understand that...but I think in one sense the players need to look that they're now a part of history, another chapter in the University of Texas at Tyler's history, and to be proud of that."
The school will find out if their application is approved in July. If it is, the 3-year transition will begin immediately and UT Tyler would become a full member of Division II on September 1, 2021.