Reports: Queens University (NC) Will Vote on Move to D1 This Week

Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina will vote this week on a possible transition to NCAA Division I athletics, according to CBS Sports college basketball reporter Jon Rothstein.

The move would send shockwaves through collegiate swimming, as Queens has won the last 6 consecutive men’s and women’s NCAA Division II championships in swimming and diving.

The program was launched for the 2010-2011 season and benefitted from an early association with David Marsh, who was the architect of the Auburn swimming dynasty of the 2000s. Marsh was training his pro team, Team Elite, out of the Queens pool, and sparked success for the team when he funneled one of his best SwimMAC high school prospects Matthew Josa to the program.

The program has had only one official head coach in its history: Jeff Dugdale, who swam under Marsh at Auburn.

The program is the dominant one in Division II swimming, but will face a different landscape if the move to Division I is successful.

They will go from the top of the pile in Division II to having to fight to stand out with recruits among other mid-major programs in Division I. With NCAA policies on changing divisions keeping teams from competing in NCAA Championships during their transition periods, that would circuit-break some of the momentum the swimming program would take to Division I.

On the opposing side of the coin, they will be able to expand from 8.1 men’s scholarships to 9.9 per season, and women’s scholarships from 8.1 to 14 per season.

Queens is already swimming at a Division I level in some regards. They’ve raced head-to-head against 5 Division I schools this season, beating the Duke men and Davidson men, while losing to Tennessee (men and women), North Carolina (men and women), South Carolina (men and women), the Duke women, and the Davidson women.

Queens University had an undergraduate enrollment of 1,670 for fall of 2020 – the last semester unimpacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the move to Division I is likely part of plans to grow, current enrollment would make the school likely the second smallest Division I school behind only Presbyterian College in South Carolina.

Queens is a Presbyterian-affiliated private university that was founded in 1857. The school changed its name from Queens College to Queens University in Charlotte in 2002, part of a large-scale expansion of educational offerings over a decade.

The school has currently 18 varsity programs and no football team. The Levine Aquatic Center on-campus has an 8-lane, 33-meter stretch pool.

The men’s basketball program is also a strength for Queens. The team is 20-3 this season and ranked #17 in NCAA Division II.

The school’s basketball teams play in the same facility in Curry Arena, which has a capacity for 2,500 spectators. While not the smallest arena in Division I, that would put them in the smallest 10% of arenas. They averaged just over 500 spectators per game in 2020.

All of the school’s NCAA titles have come in swimming and diving.

Queens isn’t the only swimming school considering the leap to Division I: Southern Indiana University voted this week to pursue a move. The school is building a new on-campus aquatic center and launching a new swimming program next season.

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IU Swammer
11 months ago

They’ll have to stop relying on European veterans and get some high school talent. I don’t mean this as a knock–they’ve done what the rules allow in DII. But they won’t be able to carry their roster full of 24/25 year-olds up to DI. On the other hand, they have an established foreign recruiting network, which can definitely benefit them if it yields age-appropriate talent. IU certainly has had a lot of success from foreign swimmers.

Regardless, I don’t see this as a good move for their swim teams. The Carolinas are flush with top-tier DI swimming schools and other ACC/SEC schools aren’t that far away, so local recruiting will be hard. Compare that to the area around NAU:… Read more »

Reply to  IU Swammer
11 months ago

Is this true though? Like is there a rule stating only a certain number of swimmers on a roster can be above a certain age at DI? I was under the impression that if the athlete met the NCAA requirements, the age did not matter (at least on the higher end).

idk about the current practice but during the early 2000s St. Francis in Brooklyn (a D1 school) had a solid chunk of Eastern Europeans more in the 22-25 range making up the core of their water polo team

used to race queens
Reply to  IU Swammer
11 months ago

yeah, i don’t know what the official rules are, but whenever we would compete against queens, we had several questions about their 23 year old sophomores.

11 months ago

On the opposing side of the coin, they will be able to expand from 8.1 men’s scholarships to 9.9 per season, and women’s scholarships from 8.1 to 14 per season.

Eh… that’s assuming there is Athletic Department support to do so. Just because they can per the rules doesn’t mean they will.

11 months ago

Do we have past examples of schools moving up to d1 and how they fared?

also how rare is a 33m pool ive never heard of that

Last edited 11 months ago by Aaron
Reply to  Aaron
11 months ago

They are more popular with high school pools. Many of the high schools in the Ann Arbor area have them. You can more easily run diving and swimming simultaneously and it gives you more lanes when you swim the width.

Reply to  Braden Keith
11 months ago

GCU Men sent relays to NCAAs, had an individual All-American, and won the WAC.

Swim mom
Reply to  Braden Keith
11 months ago

University of South Dakota? Men’s program won the Summit League last year…

Reply to  Aaron
11 months ago

on your question about 33m— if i’m not mistaken 33m is the pool course for a game of water polo. i don’t think the east coast sees much polo, but i’m thinking that’s where the number came from

James Beam
11 months ago

Awfully nice for Steph Curry to donate to Queens for their basketball arena.

11 months ago

Probably better to be a big fish in a small pond.

Reply to  NCSwimDad
11 months ago

And have 23 year old sophmores…

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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