D’Youville to begin NCAA transition from Division III to Division II membership

Photo courtesy of D’Youville athletics

A program that has been ranked more than 100 times in the NCAA Division III national coaches poll will start the transition to become a NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team.

D’Youville announced earlier this month that the NCAA approved the school’s application for the entire athletics department to be reclassified as a Division II member.

“We are thrilled to hear of our acceptance into NCAA Division II membership,” D’Youville President Lorrie Clemo said in a statement. “This reclassification has been a high priority project within the university’s strategic plan. After extensive internal and external evaluation and research it became very clear that the institution was destined to take this next step.”

The transition from Division III to Division II traditionally is a three-year process with a school being required to achieve certain compliance standards and reach various benchmarks each school year.

D’Youville, a private college with about a 3,000 student enrollment in Buffalo, New York, formally submitted its reclassification application to the NCAA in February. The school had to meet several criteria during the application process, including demonstrating it had the facilities, staffing and budget to compete at the NCAA Division II level.

The Saints men’s volleyball team has a 315-299 all-time record and reached the Molten Division III Championship national tournament in three consecutive years from 1999 to 2001.

The team under first-year head coach Chris Krueger, a former all-conference player for D’Youville, finished the 2020 season at 2-16. However, the Saints won their final match before the season was canceled in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

D’Youville has 14 varsity sports, including men’s volleyball, that are slated to compete at the NCAA Division II as provisional members during the upcoming school year. The Saints as a provisional member and throughout the entire Division II transitional process will be ineligible for the postseason.

While the men’s volleyball team will compete as an independent for the 2021 season, D’Youville for its other sports has joined the East Coast Conference. Among the schools in the ECC includes Daemen.