EWU Board of Trustees votes to stay a Division 1 sports university

Eastern Washington University reveals $25M stadium renovation plan
Eastern Washington University

CHENEY, Wash. —Eastern Washington University’s Board of Trustees voted on Friday to stay a Division 1 sports university. 

There was only one nay vote, which came from a student trustee, who said staying in the current division was too expensive. 

The board ended up siding with Interim President David May, who recommended the university stay in Division 1. May also said moving down would be detrimental to the mission of the university and hurt the diversity of the student body. 

The board’s decision comes after the university commissioned a report from the Pictor Group to help determine the best direction for the athletic department. The six-month review outlined issues related to “declining enrollment and budget cuts,” but also noted athletics as a way of boosting the university’s reputation.

“We’re going to need them to step up more, and we’re going to need those who want to stay Division I, but who haven’t been giving, that they step up and become part of the long term financial strategy for athletics. We’re going to need that. That is an essential part of success,” said Trustee Jay Manning.

The report laid out four options for the athletic department to consider: Remain a D1 team, reclassify to D1 subdivision (non-football), reclassify to D2 or reclassify to D3.

Friday’s decision means EWU will stay in the Big Sky Conference.