The Minot State University athletic department held a press conference Friday at the MSU Dome to announce the Beavers' formal acceptance into NCAA Division II.
"We are now a member of the NCAA," MSU President David Fuller said. "We can show the banner, we can wear things, we can talk about it. Yesterday we couldn't say that."
Athletic director Rick Hedberg said he received phone call Thursday evening with the NCAA's approval. Part of the NCAA's review of MSU focused on an annual report submitted by the university that exceeded 1,000 pages.
Minot State University Athletic Director Rick Hedberg announces the Beavers’ official acceptance into the NCAA Division II at a press conference Friday at the MSU Dome.
MSU will join the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in the fall along with the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.). The 16-team conference will be divided into north and south divisions for football and men's and women's basketball.
The vision of the Beavers jumping from the NAIA to the NCAA began with an exploratory committee in 2005. After talking with community members and university officials, the eventual move became obvious, Fuller said.
"The closer we got, we realized that there is not even a question; we had to do this," Fuller said. "This is the right thing, this is an exciting thing. We're in a premier conference in the Northern Sun. ... This is wonderful for Minot State, this is wonderful for the athletic program."
Fuller said the athletic department increased its scholarships and coaches' salaries to be more comparable to MSU's Northern Sun counterparts.
Hedberg said MSU still must improve its facilities, among other things, to be competitive in its new conference but said it's "an exciting time" for MSU athletics.
"The great thing about athletics is you're never there; it's always a journey," Hedberg said. "We've crossed this first bridge and now we get to another one. ... We're gonna be competing with the Northern Sun - we've talked about how they're great institutions - and we fit well with that. There are gonna be some challenges and bumps along the way but we think we can get to that point."
The Beavers' first NSIC matchups will be August 30, when the women's soccer team hosts Minnesota State University-Moorhead and the football team plays Minnesota State University-Mankato at Herb Parker Stadium.