While transitioning to Division I is an improvement for the University of North Alabama, staying Division II is the move UNA should have made.
The risk far outweighs the reward for UNA to move up a level and the students will be the ones to suffer in this decision.
As one of Alabama’s most affordable colleges this is one of UNA’s strongest selling points, according to WalletHub. With tuition increasing every year, the move to Division I will increase tuition even more.
A tuition increase is inevitable, but with enrollment stalling out in the past two semesters this could be cause for concern. The move to Division I will need to be coupled with enrollment to progress upward as a Division I school.
With tuition increasing less people are deciding to come to UNA, but instead opting for bigger schools in the state and community colleges as alternative options.
UNA has a lot to offer students, but with tuition costing more every semester parents could keep future students from attending UNA and taking a more cost affordable route.
For the athletics at UNA, this looks like a positive move. With the promise of Division I, athletics causes a stir for fans and players alike.
With the Division I move, students and fans should know the consequences.
UNA has a long tradition of excelling at athletics. From football national championships, basketball championships and many other big moments in UNA’s history, moments that many are accustomed to will be gone for a long time and maybe even forever.
UNA will go through hard times early on without a doubt. With the move to Division I, athletics will have to wait four years to compete for a conference title and make a post-season playoff play.
The margin for error in Division I is slim. One misstep in conference tournament play will result in no chance for a national tournament. With a big, shiny promise of March Madness bids and football playoffs comes a long wait for UNA.
If UNA can garner any success in the future, it will come after long years of losing and waiting for its chance to shine.
UNA will also have to start selling more tickets to sporting events. If ticket sales stay the same or drop, the athletics programs will be in trouble.
Ticket sales will always be a problem for UNA with other options available for fans. With Alabama, Auburn and the Southeastern Conference sports holding higher regard in this area, UNA will have to compete on Saturdays with two of college football’s best schools.
The ticket sales will have to increase for UNA to continue the process of moving up to Division I. The fans will have to show up at Braly Stadium to cheer on the Lions instead of opting to stay at home to watch SEC teams such as Alabama and Auburn.
Staying up to par with the other FCS Division I schools will be vital to staying relevant.
Keep cheering the Lions on and continue to support this school, but also make sure to check up on the leaders of this school so the move to Division I does not fail.
Only time will tell with the move being successful or a failure. With the move starting in the 2018-19 athletic season, the experiment will begin for UNA and all involved with it. Whether we like it or not.