Georgetown (Ky.) exploring Division III

Georgetown's Eddie Gray hit the game-winner in the NAIA Division I quarterfinals this past season.
Georgetown (Ky.) athletics photo by Richard Davis

By Pat Coleman

Georgetown (Ky.), an NAIA athletic power and semifinalist in the NAIA Division I men's basketball tournament this past season, has sent a letter of membership interest to the NCAA to explore joining Division III, according to a report in the Georgetown News-Graphic.

The school, which is located just north of Lexington, Ky., said it has plans to apply for a Phi Beta Kappa charter. No school affiliated with the NAIA currently has PBK status.

Centre and Kentucky are the only schools in the state with a Phi Beta Kappa charter.

“We have to determine if we stay in the NAIA, are we going to invest the money to remain a powerhouse,” school president Bill Crouch told the newspaper. “For instance, we have only played in one national championship in the past eight years. That was in volleyball. We used to be a powerhouse in the NAIA in terms of regularly playing for national titles. Our basketball team regularly gets to the national tournament, but there are 32 other teams.”

Georgetown has cut athletic scholarships below the maximum level allowed in recent years (24 for football, 11 for basketball), according to sources. Football made the national playoffs but lost in the first round at MidAmerica Nazarene. Men's basketball, one of the few programs that is close to fully funded with scholarships, finished 32-5.

According to the newspaper report, Crouch said Division III is seen as more academically based than the NAIA. He also said membership in the NCAA would benefit the school in terms of reimbursement of postseason travel expenses, marketing and academic commitment.

Crouch also said that CNN runs Division III football scores on its ticker on Saturdays, but that seems to be inaccurate, at least during the regular season.