4. 🎓 Bellarmine graduates to Division I
Bellarmine University's move from Division II athletics to Division I has been in the works for years, but yesterday the jump became official.
- Details: The private Catholic college in Louisville will become the 10th member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, joining current members Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Liberty, Lipscomb, NJIT, North Alabama, North Florida and Stetson.
The big picture: Bellarmine president Susan Donovan says the move is part of the university's "strategic plan" to increase enrollment and expand its geographic reach.
Yes, but: Moving to Division I doesn't come without risks. Just look at Savannah State, which will drop back down to D-II this season because of financial concerns. The school's football program, once a source of revenue and pride, turned into a laughing stock at the D-I level.
- Bellarmine must ensure that the same thing doesn't happen to its men's basketball program, which has been a D-II powerhouse for years and won the national championship in 2011.
The bottom line: A whole new world awaits Bellarmine beginning in 2020 — a world full of recruiting battles, shiny new facilities and, if they're lucky, the kind of national exposure only Division I athletics can provide.