From staff reports
After a long five-month wait, the USC Beaufort Department of Athletics on Thursday, July 14, learned it has officially been accepted as a provisional member of NCAA Division II.
USC Beaufort’s ascent into the NCAA has been in the works for several years.
“What a great day for USCB and our entire community,” USCB Director of Athletics Quin Monahan said. “This is a day we have worked toward and anticipated for several years, and I could not be more thrilled.”
Achieving full NCAA Division II membership typically takes three years, provided the athletic department successfully completes each phase of the membership process. The NCAA committee reviews each school in the process annually to determine if the institution should repeat any year or advance to the next year in the process. There is not a guarantee to move from one year to the next.
“I’m thankful for the hard work, support and dedication of so many that made this our new reality – starting with our Chancellor Al M. Panu and former Chancellor Jane T. Upshaw. Without their vision and leadership, this incredible day would have never have came to be,” Monahan said.
The process started with a conversation many years ago when Monahan laid out his vision and direction of the USCB athletic department to Panu. Monahan, now entering his 11th year at the helm, shared the positive impact this transition would have on the institution, and Dr. Panu – entering his eighth year as Chancellor – fully supported Monahan and the athletic department on this quest.
“This marks a significant milestone in USCB’s journey,” Panu said.
The first step of applying to become a NCAA institution began on April 14, 2021 when the Peach Belt Conference Board of Directors unanimously accepted USCB as a provisional member of the league. With USCB’s acceptance into the NCAA, the Sand Sharks are now full-fledged PBC members.
“What a great day to be a Sand Shark,” PBC commissioner David Brunk said. “Congratulations to Chancellor Al Panu, Athletic Director Quin Monahan and the entire USC Beaufort community. USCB will be a great fit and tremendous asset to NCAA Division II and the Peach Belt Conference.”
USCB will transition into the three-year provisional stage that begins in the 2022- 23 season. If USCB successfully passes the annual reviews, the Sand Sharks will become a full and active NCAA DII member in 2025-26.
For USCB’s first provisional year, the Sand Sharks will have dual membership with both the NAIA and NCAA. The Sand Sharks have already been accepted as members of the Continental Athletic Conference (NAIA’s independent conference), and USCB will play in this league for the first year of provisional membership, while still playing a Peach Belt Conference schedule. After each sport’s regular season concludes, USCB will participate in the Continental Athletic Conference tournaments, as it vies for a NAIA Tournament bid. With this move to the CAC, USCB is no longer an active member of The Sun Conference.
Per standard operations of NCAA provisional membership, USCB will not be able to participate in any postseason tournaments – CAC, Peach Belt, NAIA or NCAA – during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons. The Sand Sharks will continue to compete in a full Peach Belt slate during those two provisional seasons, as they prepare to become full NCAA DII members in 2025- 26.