By Brad Blume, Sports Information Director
RAPID CITY --- South Dakota School of Mines received word from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Friday morning the university has been moved forward to the 'provisional year' of the NCAA D-II membership process. This essentially marks the third and final year of the membership transition process from NAIA to NCAA for Hardrocker Athletics.
"This is an exciting time for the university. It is a culmination of three years of hard work, lots of hours, lots of paperwork and a great effort on the part of many people throughout the campus to get us to the final year of this membership process," said Hardrockers Athletics Director Dick Kaiser. "It says a lot about the university and its commitment to become an NCAA D-II member. We look forward to completing this provisional year successfully and moving on to becoming a full NCAA D-II member next fall, 2013. "
SD Mines applied and was accepted into the NCAA D-II level in 2010. The Hardrockers started the membership transition process with nearly a year of preparation followed by two candidacy years. SD Mines used that time to make the proper changes to the department and staff by integrating the NCAA philosophy and platform as well as becoming compliant with all NCAA rules and regulations. After two evaluations from an NCAA committee, the Hardrockers were approved to enter the final year.
"The NCAA now views us as viable candidate for membership and this is our 'dress-rehearsal' year," Kaiser said. "We have to be 100 percent compliant with all NCAA rules starting Sept. 1, however, we have already been doing that for over a year."
The provisional year means the Hardrockers will be recognized as NCAA D-II members to their opponents during competition, but all SDM sports programs are still ineligible to compete in post-season play.
If all goes well at the end of the 2012-13 seasons, SD Mines will become a full member next summer and all Hardrocker teams will then be able to compete in the post season, be considered for national rankings and be eligible for any NCAA award --- athletically or academically.
"Moving into the provisional year is a measure of success on the institution's part to move from where we were at three years ago to where we are at now. It also shows a strong commitment on the part of many individuals from private industry, the campus community and specially our boosters," Kaiser said. "Now we need to use this opportunity and maximize it by taking that final step into full membership."