ASU initiated the discussion in response to the major realignment of athletic conferences nationally over the last two years and the belief it was an appropriate time to assess the direction of Rams and Rambelles athletics. In addition to extensive internal discussions, the Athletics Department brought in Dr. Cedric Dempsey, president of the NCAA from 1994 to 2003, to review ASU’s current competitive and financial position and to assess the department’s future. One of the options evaluated was a possible move to the Division I level of competition.
ASU President Joseph C. Rallo said, “As the landscape of intercollegiate athletics was rapidly changing, we feel like the process was a good exercise. We were able to identify both our strengths and some areas of improvement and now have a better understanding of what it will take to better serve our student-athletes, and campus and area communities.”
Dempsey interviewed university and athletics administrators, ASU coaches, board members of the Angelo State Athletic Foundation board, members of the San Angelo community and representatives of the Southland Conference. Additionally, he evaluated financials and toured ASU facilities to gain more clarity into ASU’s current position in athletics.
After the study, Rallo said budget was one of the primary reasons that Angelo State University and the Texas Tech University System determined that a move to Division I was impractical. ASU’s athletic budget currently approaches $4.5 million. By comparison, many Texas institutions in the Division I Southland Conference have operating budgets exceeding $10 million. Since a Division I conference invite is required for a move, benchmarking data from the Southland Conference was the most practical comparison.
As consultant Dempsey outlined in his assessment, “The financial investment required for ASU to move up to Division I is daunting.”
Because of the fiscal challenges, the former NCAA chief recommended that Angelo State University actively pursue a “dominant competitive position” at the Division II level. ASU has been a NCAA Division II and Lone Star Conference member since 1982.
“We are committed to the Lone Star Conference and to making sure our student-athletes have a great Division II experience,” said ASU Athletic Director Kathleen Brasfield.