Wright State basketball | Photograph by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian
Wright State University (WSU) was granted a waiver by the NCAA to remain in Division I. WSU can operate below the minimum amount of required sports for the next two seasons.
The NCAA requires Division I member institutions to sponsor at least 14 sports. WSU now has 11 after cutting the softball team as well as the men’s and women’s tennis teams in June.
“Made the difficult decision back in June to cut 2 million dollars out of our 10-million-dollar budget, that involved cutting three sports,” said WSU Athletic Director Bob Grant.
The budget being restructured due to coronavirus forced a lot of student-athletes to transfer and find another school. These are unprecedented times, so drastic measures had to be taken.
Importance of Waiver
The difference between Division I and Division II is fairly huge. Division I includes tougher competition at a higher level.
A lot of student-athletes want to be a part of a Division I program and to compete in that atmosphere, so it plays a big role in recruiting.
“If I were a freshman right now it would definitely have way more effect on me, knowing that I chose to play for a D1 school and I worked hard to get there, but now they might go D2 which would have me questioning what I would want to do,” said senior on WSU volleyball team Teddie Sauer.
Now WSU can continue to recruit Division I athletes, making the waiver crucial for the university.
“I think playing D2 would have affected all of us in one way or another. But I’m just glad we were able to receive the waiver to continue playing D1 for the time being,” said senior on WSU golf team Austin Schoonmaker.
WSU now has two full seasons until they have to add back at least three sports.
They can add back any NCAA-sponsored sports they choose; it doesn’t have to be the same three sports that they cut.
Throughout the two years of the waiver, WSU will have to provide several data checkpoints to the NCAA as part of the process.