INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Management Council Administrative Committee, acting on behalf of the DI Management Council, announced Thursday that South Dakota State University has met the requirements to become an active member of NCAA Division I, starting at the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year.

Previously a member of Division II, SDSU successfully completed the five-year process of moving its athletics programs to comply with Division I membership requirements. Requirements include compliance with Division I rules for the final four years, meeting minimum financial aid and contest scheduling limits, engaging in a rules compliance review and successfully completing the athletics certification process.

"The certification process in and of itself has been a great guide to enter full membership at the Division I level,” SDSU Director of Athletics Fred Oien said. “The guiding principles help enhance the opportunities for success once being an active member.”

SDSU officials submitted an extensive self-study to the NCAA in the spring of 2007 and a peer-review team completed the information gathering during a visit to the Brookings campus in October 2007.

"During the five-year transition, one of the most beneficial outcomes has been bringing the entire university together to better understand the role of intercollegiate athletics and provide much better insight into the purposes of the organization," Oien said. "The relationships that exist between our staff and the NCAA also have been beneficial because they have helped us reinforce our plan for providing the most positive experience we can for all of our student-athletes, now and in the future."

Although SDSU has met the challenges of becoming a Division I member, Oien said much work remains to ensure Jackrabbit teams are competitive at the highest level of college athletics.

“Completing the transition has never been the ultimate goal,” Oien said. “The planning that has been ongoing will continue over the next five to 10 years and will include enhancements in scholarships, staffing, facility development and program operations.”