STEPHENVILLE, Texas — The Western Athletic Conference officially submitted a letter of support to the NCAA on Monday regarding Tarleton’s waiver request for NCAA playoff eligibility in the final two years of his Division I reclassification.

The WAC letter calls for Tarleton to be eligible for automatic conference qualification for the NCAA championships, beginning in the 2022-23 academic year. In its letter, the WAC supports Tarleton’s assertion that NCAA championship eligibility is an integral part of the student-athlete experience and that Tarleton student-athletes should not be denied this opportunity simply. because Tarleton is a reclassification institution.

Currently, Tarleton is at the end of his second year of a four-year reclassification process to NCAA Division I and will not be eligible to compete in NCAA post-season tournaments until 2024-25.

The full letter submitted to the NCAA by the WAC can be found below:

On behalf of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), this is intended to serve as an official letter of support for applications from Dixie State University and Tarleton State University to be eligible to earn our conference’s Automatic Qualifying (AQ) in NCAA championships in all sports, beginning in the 2022-23 academic year.

As a Division I member conference, the WAC is committed to providing an exemplary experience – both on and off the courts and playing fields for every student-athlete it serves, and the current reclassification process of four years required by the Association does not give priority to this experience. Our members are fully committed to the welfare of their student-athletes and this includes the opportunity to compete for NCAA championships, which is one of the key benefits of Division I membership.

It should be noted that since Dixie State and Tarleton State began their reclassification processes in the 2020-21 academic year, both institutions have taken all necessary steps to ensure full compliance with the requirements of their transition to the Division I, including all financial commitments required by the NCAA, institutional financial support, the advancement of their academic units, and essential attention to their competitive pedigree. Along with their commitment to financial sustainability, Dixie State and Tarleton State are fully committed to thriving as Division I institutions. Dixie State and Tarleton State are also currently in full compliance with all ID laws and membership requirements for out-of-work institutions, including ID programming obligations. Although Dixie State and Tarleton State are currently ineligible for NCAA postseason competition, both institutions have committed to meeting the Division I scheduling requirements required to be considered DI opponents over the course of of their respective reclassification processes and are currently participating in full schedules of regular season conference competitions. Additionally, under Western Athletic Conference rules, both institutions currently compete in conference championships in which the winner does not receive league QA at NCAA championships (men’s and women’s cross country championships, Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, Men’s and Women’s Indoor Athletics Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Athletics Championships and Championships DSU and TSU also participate in the WAC Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships as independent entries not eligible for team or individual QA at NCAA Division I golf championships). Both institutions are also eligible to win regular-season league championships in all WAC-sponsored sports. Dixie State and Tarleton State will also be eligible to participate in WAC men’s and women’s basketball tournaments beginning in 2023, as the Conference allows reclassifying institutions to participate in its men’s and women’s basketball championships beginning in 2023. third year of the DI reclassification process. Overall, the Conference is doing everything in its power to ensure that its student-athletes fully benefit from the championship experience during their respective collegiate registration periods and asks the NCAA to provide the same benefit. .

WAC is also fully aware of and supports the Atlantic Sun Conference’s legislative proposal that would allow institutions to currently reclassify to Division I and who are in the third year or more of the reclassification process to be eligible to earn AQ of this conference in an NCAA championship. Additionally, our conference is aware of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s (SAAC) support for the legislative proposal, but is confused and discouraged by the NCAA’s lackluster response and consideration of the request. With DI SAAC’s support of the proposal, the WAC implores the NCAA to prioritize this issue as it puts the needs of the student-athlete first during this time of transformation. The collegiate athletics environment is undergoing a major overhaul and it is evident that changes need to be made to modernize the policies and procedures that govern the Association. The WAC strongly believes that the well-being and overall college experience of student-athletes should remain paramount priorities in this process, and there should never be any instance of the NCAA excluding student-athletes from the possibility of participating in the NCAA championship. events due to outdated policies that govern reclassification and playoff access. The NCAA DI reclassification process legislation is completely beyond the control of our student-athletes, and they should not be penalized for it. Excluding student-athletes from competing in NCAA championships due to outdated legislation is unnecessary and unfair.

In summary, the WAC is unwavering in its support for Dixie State and Tarleton State to be eligible to win our conference’s AQ in the NCAA Championships in all sports beginning in the 2022-23 academic year and, based on the information provided in this letter, respectfully requests the immediate attention of the NCAA on this matter.

The review and consideration of this request by the Association is greatly appreciated. Please consider the WAC at your beck and call at all times should we have any impact on the decision on this matter. Thank you.

Brian Thorton
Commissioner
Western Athletic Conference

Dr. Phil Schubert
President
Abilene Christian University

Dr. Ronald L. Ellis
President
California Baptist University

Dr. Richard B. Williams
President
Dixie State University

Brian Müller
President
Grand Canyon University
Chairman, WAC Board of Directors

Dr. Thomas Evans
President
University of the Incarnate Word
Incoming institution (2022-23)

Eduardo Penalver
President
Seattle University

Mindy Benson
Acting President
University of Southern Utah
Incoming institution (2022-23)

Dr. Steven Westbrook
Acting President
Stephen F. Austin State University

Dr. James Hurley
President
Tarleton State University

Dr. Jennifer Evans-Cowley
President
UT Arlington
Incoming institution (2022-23)

Dr Guy Bailey
President
UTRGV

Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez
President
Utah Valley University



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