Spearfish, S.D. - Black Hills State University Athletic Director Jhett Albers announced today that the University's application to NCAA Division II was accepted by the NCAA membership committee.

BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp lauded the athletics program and thanked the Green and Gold boosters and the Yellow Jacket Foundation members for their support throughout the process. "This is a great day for Yellow Jacket athletics."

"Today is a great day for the Yellow Jackets," said Albers. "The reason that we began this process was to better serve our student-athletes in their athletic and academic endeavors. We are all very excited about making this transition."

Today's announcement culminates an application process that began over a year ago.

"A lot of time and discussion went into this decision. After talking with our student-athletes, alumni, donors, and the administration, it became clear that pursuing (NCAA) Division II was the right choice for the future of Yellow Jacket Athletics," said Albers.

Black Hills State will now begin the transition into the NCAA this season.

Albers stated, "This is the first step in our transition to NCAA Division II. Our athletic program will begin the first year of the candidacy period effective with the 2010-2011 season. The NCAA will assess our athletic program and determine our readiness. Over the course of the following year we will move into a provisional period as an NCAA member, if all falls in place, in 2012-2013"

During the transition process, BHSU will be pursuing membership in a conference.

"We are exploring many options for conference membership. We have already been in contact with the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC). and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). We have notified each that we are interested in the possibility of joining their conferences," said Albers.

BHSU is a member of the Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The application to be considered for NCAA Division II was submitted earlier this year.

For more information on Black Hills State Athletics, visit www.BHSU.edu/Athletics.