A Look Ahead: Raven Athletics

Feb 13, 2018

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Dear Franklin Pierce Community:

Like all universities that feature intercollegiate athletics, Franklin Pierce University's sports offerings have evolved in new and positive ways over the years and will continue to do so in the decades ahead. Some of the changes have been significant – expanding from a handful of club sports, joining the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Mayflower Conference, and ultimately moving to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1988 – and many have been small in their institutional impact.

A recent analysis of the 27 sports in which our 509 student-athletes compete offers a valuable assessment of how Franklin Pierce University Athletics can thrive in the 21st century. As Franklin Pierce continues to grow in reputation and impact, regionally and nationally, this thorough analysis advances a vision that supports the University’s membership in the NCAA Division II and the Northeast-10 (NE10) Conference.

From this review, Raven Athletics is taking the next steps toward becoming the conference’s premier athletics program and a recognized leader in promoting competitive teams, academic success, and productive citizenship. We have identified a three-year transition process that includes:

  • Prioritizing efforts between the University and other NE10 member institutions to reclassify Women’s Ice Hockey as a fully sponsored sport within the NE10;
  • Increasing scholarship, operating, and staffing in Women’s Ice Hockey and remaining Women’s programs;
  • Transitioning Sprint Football to NCAA Division II Football beginning with a full NE10 schedule in the fall of 2019;
  • Discontinuing Men’s and Women’s Bowling (not currently an NE10 sport) in fall of 2018; and
  • Discontinuing Women’s Swimming in fall of 2018.

These changes will increase opportunities in our remaining programs that will serve to enhance the student-athlete experience.  An intentional focus on our strongest women’s programs will provide them with the resources necessary to remain as premier programs within the NE10 and empower the university to build on our solid ongoing commitment to Title IX and to women’s athletics.

Moving to NCAA Division II Football is a significant step for the University, and one that makes sense, given the growing similarities to rules governing our existing Sprint Football program. In terms of eligibility and expenses, the gap between Sprint and NCAA Division II Football has never been so close. Now is the logical time for Franklin Pierce to make the transition to Division II with our Football program, allowing us to capitalize on the enhancements to our on-campus student experience which will come with such a transition.

The University is committed to a strong, fiscally prudent sports program that continues to emphasize the skills students learn on and off the field. We will keep the community apprised as these transitions move forward.  This announcement can also be accessed via the University’s Athletic Department at http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu.

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