MONDAY, MARCH 01, 2004
JU Reaffirms Commitment to Division I Athletics

March 1, 2004

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University today reaffirmed its commitment to remain a full-fledged Division I athletics program. Acting President Dr. Catherine Morgan presented the recommendations to members of the Board of Trustees Executive Committee following a study of possible alternatives as part of the University's ongoing financial and organizational restructuring efforts.

Morgan also met last week with the commissioner of the Atlantic Sun Conference, Bill Bibb, and has reassured the commissioner that Division I athletics is a vital part of Jacksonville University today and into the future.

"This is a decision that makes sense for the University from a strategic and financial standpoint," Morgan said. "But it is more about the 400-plus student-athletes who study here at Jacksonville University and the role they play in our campus community. We've looked at this decision from many angles and decided that this is what is best for our students and our university's future."

The University's commitment to Division I athletics comes on the heels the Department of Athletics being realigned under the University's Division of Student Life two weeks ago as part of a campus-wide financial restructuring plan. Under the new organization, all coaches and staff of the Athletics Department now report to Vice President for Student Life Dr. John Balog. The position of athletics director was eliminated.

JU has been competing at the Division I level since 1965 after competing as a junior college (1948-57) and four-year NAIA (1957-65) institution. The Dolphins were a charter member of the Sun Belt Conference in 1976 and then joined the Atlantic Sun Conference in 1998.

JU fields competitive NCAA Division I teams in 18 varsity sports and competes in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The football program is I-AA non-scholarship and competes in the Pioneer Football League. More than one-third of all JU's undergraduate students participate in intercollegiate athletics.