Dixie State University is set to be the eighth full member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). The school began the official transition in early July, marking the start of a four-year reclassification process. Once completed, the Trailblazers will be eligible for NCAA Division I postseason play beginning in the 2024-25 season. What does all of this mean for potential Dixie State students and the University athletic program as a whole?
DSU teams will be able to complete for WAC regular-season conference championships right away, and individual sports (cross country, swimming, indoor/outdoor track, and golf) will be eligible to compete for conference championships right away as well. Presently, the WAC crowns team and individual champions in 19 sports. DSU has a total of 16 intercollegiate athletic programs, including seven men’s sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, and tennis) and nine women’s sports (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball).
Joining the Western Athletic Conference will not only elevate our athletic teams and allow them to play other high-caliber competitors, but it will elevate our entire university and expand the stage on which we can share the message about the high-quality academic programs, individualized attention, and active learning opportunities available at Dixie State.Dixie State President Dr. Richard B. Williams following the 2019 announcement.
Schools that move to Division I routinely see increases in scholarships, enrollment, and degree completion percentage in their first few years with the distinction. Athletic programs are never the only beneficiary of these changes. The ripple effect of a DI transition can amplify the notoriety of a university entirely. Dixie State will now have closer competitive relationships with its fellow Utah universities. The Trailblazers will have the opportunity to play Southern Utah University, Weber State University, Northern Arizona University, and more. Say goodbye to Division II! Prior to the move, Dixie State competed at the Division II level since the 2006-07 season.
It’s a big jump from the junior college ranks into Division I, but it has few people surprised. The growth somewhat mirrors the growth of St. George and the surrounding area. People will see Dixie State athletes and teams competing and ask themselves, “where are they from?” The move adds some degree of additional national exposure for the city of St. George. A wonderful chain reaction that leaves nothing but positive benefits to all involved.
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