After three years of provisions and over 20 years of anticipation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is an NCAA Division II athletic program.
“This is a major milestone in the history of Embry-Riddle and a crowning moment for years-worth of work from dozens of individuals on our campus,” Embry-Riddle Director of Athletics John Phillips said. “This is much, much more than just a transition for our athletic department, it’s transformational for the entire University. This transition has been a collaborative effort from numerous departments on campus and dozens of faculty and staff from across the campus.”
The Eagles played the last two seasons against NCAA Division II competition, but as a provisional member, the program was not eligible for awards or postseason play. As a full member, Embry-Riddle is now eligible for the postseason in both the Sunshine State Conference and the NCAA, as well as all NCAA and SSC individual and team awards.
Embry-Riddle enjoyed great success throughout its time as a member of the NAIA and The Sun Conference, winning 104 regular season Sun Conference championships, 32 Sun Conference tournament titles, 29 individual national championships, and the 2000 Men’s Basketball national championship.
“Whether it is in the classroom or in athletic competition, our student athletes are held to the highest standards,” said Embry-Riddle President Dr. P. Barry Butler. “This inclusion in a nationally recognized organization such as the NCAA that shares this vision affirms our ongoing commitment as a university to student diversity, opportunity and success.”
The Blue and Gold earned the highest Academic Success Rate in the Sunshine State Conference in 2016, which measures the ASR of student-athletes over a six-year period. Embry-Riddle scored a 94 in the most recent ASR release, which is tied for ninth-highest in the country in NCAA Division II.
Butler, Phillips and the entire Embry-Riddle family are proud of the work it took to make it this far, and the university wants to continue to get better.
“We’re excited for our future and eager to begin this new challenge in the NCAA and the Sunshine State Conference,” Phillips said.
Embry-Riddle’s first competition as a member of Division II will be Thursday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. when the men’s soccer team hosts Francis Marion University (S.C.) at the Embry-Riddle Soccer Stadium.