Northern Kentucky University is well into the first semester, meaning that its athletes have had some experience with NCAA Division I under their belts.
Before the official kickoff of the season had even occurred, the Atlantic Sun Conference had ranked NKU men’s cross country team seventh out of 10 teams. Ricky Harm, a senior cross country runner, said this gives the team stamina to prove itself to the rest of the conference.
“The most challenging part of being D-I now is the competition,” Harm said. “The competition we had at the D-II level was still tough at times, but now with D-I, we are playing against more competitive schools. They’re expecting a lot more at the D-I level.”
The transition to Division I brings more challenges to both current and potential future NKU athletes. NCAA rules state that during the four-year reclassification period, NKU is ineligible for tournament competition. Harm said he does not think this will turn people away from the university.
Harm said NKU still has a really good athletics and education programs and is able to provide the incoming athlete or present athlete the best experience possible. He also understands the impact that the move to Division I will have on current athletes.
“At the moment, the transition period puts us in a down time with no tournaments to try and bring home a NCAA title at the end of the season for athletics, which kind of sucks for the current athletes here now, but they had to make the transition sometime; we just caught the end of the stick with it happening while we are here,” Harm said.
Harm and the rest of the men’s cross country team will be competing against more Division I competition at the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 29.