ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — For the past few years Rock Valley College’s success in athletics has led to talk about whether or not the sports programs there might jump up from NJCAA Division III to Division II. Now that might actually happen.”
Tuesday evening the RVC board of trustees discussed that topic during a committee meeting. The board won’t vote on the matter until later this month at it’s regular July 27 meeting.
There’s no disputing RVC’s sports team can handle the more challenging competition at the Division II level. Most of the teams already schedule regular season games against junior college division two opponents and even some division one opponents.
And RVC teams keep racking up national championships in Division III. This spring the softball team won the latest championship, it’s seventh straight and RVC’s 23rd overall in eight different sports.
Five years ago I asked then athletic director Misty Opat if RVC might consider jumping up to Division II.
“In light of the state budget and things it’s nothing that’s going to happen in the near future for sure,” said Opat.
But the state budget outlook has improved since then meaning the time might be right for a switch, but any decision to switch to Division II still comes down to finances. Will RVC have the money to be able to offer scholarships and tuition waivers to its athletes? Division III athletes don’t receive athletic scholarships. Their only sources of aid are through foundation scholarships and grants that are available to all students.
Current RVC athletic director and head softball coach Darin Monroe has declined to comment on camera until after the trustees reach a decision. He did tell me in a statement “RVC is currently evaluating a potential transition in its athletic program to NJCAA Division II including cost of scholarships, travel and costs of competition that it presents.”