SPARTANBURG, S.C. – In 2007-08, USC Upstate embarked on a new journey for its athletics program, transitioning its sports team from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I as members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. After four years of competing as a transitional member of Division I, Upstate is poised to receive full certification by the NCAA with all teams eligible for postseason play in NCAA and A-Sun championships.
Two Spartan programs, men’s soccer and softball, were eligible in their third season of D-I play after being selected as the institution’s fast-tracked sports. Men’s soccer fell just short of an A-Sun Tournament berth in 2009, while softball appeared in the conference tournament in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, the softball team came out of the loser’s bracket and advanced to the championship game before falling to Lipscomb. In 2011, Upstate was the number three seed and the host institution for the championship event.
“We are thrilled to have nearly completed the transitional process to full Division I membership,” said Mike Hall, Director of Athletics. “It has been difficult on our coaches, staff and most of all our student-athletes who did not have postseason opportunities. This will definitely aid in our recruiting of prospective student-athletes and generate more excitement for all of our fans that can now attend conference tournaments and, hopefully, NCAA Championships. Many people contributed to our move to D-I and we will always be thankful for the involvement of our administration, faculty/staff, student body, alumni, donors and sponsors.”
To signify this new age of Upstate athletics, the media relations office has selected what it feels are the top 10 moments for each sport during the transitional phase. But, now it is up to you the fan to vote and ultimately select the top three moments for each sport. The voting polls are now open and will close on Sunday, July 24 at 11:30 p.m.
The top three moments for each sport will be revealed in August leading up to the first athletic contest of the year. Upstate women’s soccer will kick-off the 2011-12 academic year with a scrimmage against Spartanburg Methodist College on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 6:00 p.m.
The release of each sport’s top three moments will be as follows: Baseball (Aug. 2), Men’s Basketball (Aug. 3), Women’s Basketball (Aug. 4), Men’s & Women’s Cross Country (Aug. 5), Men’s & Women’s Golf (Aug. 8), Men’s Soccer (Aug. 9), Women’s Soccer (Aug. 10), Softball (Aug. 11), Men’s & Women’s Tennis (Aug. 12), Men’s & Women’s Track and Field (Aug. 15) and Volleyball (Aug. 16).