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NE10 Joins NCAA in Celebrating 50th Anniversary of Division II

DII 50th Anniversary Launch


The NE10 Has Been a Division II Member Since the League's Founding in 1980.

MANSFIELD, Mass. – The Northeast-10 Conference will join 22 other conferences in celebrating the milestone 50th anniversary of NCAA Division II during the 2023-24 academic year, which will highlight the Division's impact on the student-athlete experience over the past five decades.

Established on August 6, 1973, NCAA Division II will mark this significant milestone with a yearlong recognition, which begins almost exactly 50 years after its founding.

The NE10 has been a proud member of Division II since the league was officially formed in June of 1980 and it has thrived in the areas of academics, athletics and community service in that time. During the 2020-21 academic year, the NE10 celebrated its 40th anniversary as a conference - with all four decades coming in the Division II ranks. 

"50 years ago, NCAA Division II transformed the college landscape by providing valuable opportunities to student-athletes utilizing a partial-scholarship model which has proven to be not only fiscally responsible but a cornerstone of a balanced educational approach to intercollegiate athletics," said NE10 Commissioner Julie Ruppert. "Five decades later, Division II's impact is even more critical in today's ever-changing higher education environment. Our collective membership provides unbelievable opportunities to today's student-athletes who will be tomorrow's leaders. We continue to leave an indelible mark on the lives thousands of those student-athletes by providing high level competition with the context of our colleges and universities."

"As I enter my 16th year in Division II, I never miss an opportunity to tell our story, that the DII experience is one to make your own, packaged within a "Life in the Balance". I am so proud to have the chance to celebrate this remarkable milestone with the 22 conferences and 300+ institutions in the division," added Ruppert. "Our NE10 membership gets it right -  in all phases of the college experience – outstanding competition,  academics and service in our communities – and we consider ourselves privileged to be Division II members."

NCAA members at a Special Convention in the summer of 1973 voted to establish three divisions for athletic competition, replacing the former model of classifying schools as either "university" or "college" to distinguish between larger and smaller programs.

The creation of Division II gave those programs that wanted to keep their athletics budgets in good proportion to the total institutional budget a place to compete. A distinguishing factor for Division II schools was to be a "partial-scholarship" model for athletics-based financial aid, different from both Division I (fully-funded athletic scholarships) and Division III (no athletic scholarships).  

Dissatisfied with being defined as the "middle division" however, Division II launched a new and unique identity campaign in 2005 that promoted a "Life in the Balance", in which student-athletes excel in athletics, academics and as citizens in their communities.  

Division II continues to promote its "Life in the Balance" philosophy, as well as "Make It Yours" – a brand that highlights the unique opportunities and collegiate experiences that the Division can provide to student-athletes, coaches and athletic departments.  

The NE10 will celebrate the NCAA Division II 50th Anniversary with a wide array of content throughout the 2023-24 academic year, focusing on the conference's strong history within Division II, while looking forward to a promising future.

NE10 About Us - 50th Anniversary of Division II

DII 50th Anniversary

The NE10 is an association of 12 diverse institutions serving student-athletes across 24 NCAA Division II sports. Together we build brilliant futures by embracing the journey of every student-athlete.

Each year, 4,500 of those student-athletes compete in conference championships in 24 sports, making the NE10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the NE10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.

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