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McMurry University's return to NCAA Division III impacts student-athletes

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Jan 31 2014 09:14:37 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 01 2014 08:46:45 PM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Last year Kelly McNamee’s wish came true.

"I was offered the athletic scholarship and it was going to help a lot with my financial situation so that's what drew me here," said McNamee.

Now, halfway through her freshman year, McNamee -- along with McMurry University's other freshmen athletes -- must think about how they will pay for their education.

"They have two years to decide how to fund their senior year," McMurry University President Dr. Sandra Harper said. 

McMurry University is moving back to Division III athletic competition after just two years competing in Division II.

"The Board of Trustees at McMurry University has voted to withdraw the schools divisional NCAA Division II membership bid and remain an NCAA Division III institution for all of its athletic programs," McMurry Board Chairman Chuck Fallon said.

It’s a move that could mean losing several of their current students. The university must phase out athletic aid in order to fully compete in Division III. Currently at McMurry there are about 160 students on athletic scholarships.

The trustees vote Friday will have a wide reaching impact on athletic programs at the school. Division III schools can't offer athletic scholarships, but McMurry isn't pulling all their athletic aid right away.

"The university will continue to honor student aid covering tuition at the level currently being offered to the students for the next two years," Fallon said. 

The change will impact students in 17 sports.

Meanwhile, McNamee said, "I called my mom after I heard because I don't know what I'm going to do. Because I can't afford to go here without these scholarships."