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Seattle U plans for a return to Division I


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Seattle U to add five sports as part of move to Division I

Seattle U must have its funding situation well-in-hand to offer five additional sports: they were already at the minimum of 14 for DI non-football schools.

SEATTLE -- Seattle University will add five sports over the next two years as part of the school's intended move to Division I, the school said Friday.

The university will add baseball, men's and women's golf and men's and women's tennis, bringing the number of sports offered by the school to 19.

"Anyone who knows SU athletics will recognize that we have had many outstanding alumni from these sports in years past. The additional sports will also support our goal for NCAA Division I league membership," athletics director Bill Hogan said.

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ESPN: Houston Baptist, Seattle U. in the transition game to D-I

There isn't a lot that distinguishes most of the nascent programs that recently have embarked on the journey to Division I. Many are not ready for this stage, and some may never be. Currently, 20 schools are in various stages of the reclassification process, with three more having just completed the transition. The NCAA has become so concerned with Division I oversaturation that in August it passed an emergency four-year moratorium on new applications.

Houston Baptist and Seattle University, though, sneaked in under the deadline and stand out among the baby-faced newcomers because of their histories. In the past 15 seasons, only four programs have returned to the Division I fold after original multiyear stints at that level. And only one of those has made the NCAA Tournament -- Oral Roberts, with four all-time appearances after repeat trips in 2006 and '07. Now that list has become three.

If Houston Baptist's history makes it D-I newbie royalty, Seattle's makes it the transitional king. The program, then known as the Chieftains, featured players like future NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor and "Sweet Charlie" Brown during its run of 11 NCAA Tournament appearances in 17 seasons during the 1950s and '60s, back when the event involved about two dozen teams, not 65.

That's a legacy of extended success that few D-I programs in any era can match. As such, even though Seattle U. last played Division I ball in 1980, athletic director Bill Hogan noted that many locals still remember those teams with a passion and are willing to invest, both financially and emotionally, in the re-established Redhawks.

"The potential here is outrageous," said Hogan, who spent 15 years as the athletic director at the University of San Francisco. "When I left the Bay Area, there were nine Division I schools within a drive [of USF]. Here, there is one. There's general enthusiasm. People remember the good ol' days.

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