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NCAA Division III (D3)

NCAA Division III (D3)  FAQ Sheet

Lyon College Scots Athletics will transition to NCAA Division III (D3) for Lyon Scots Athletics in the next four years. This decision is one of many strategic initiatives focused on strengthening Lyon and its mission as a leading Arkansas higher education institution.​​​​​​

View the full FAQ Sheet.

Why are we moving to compete in NCAA Division III (D3)?

The division has a dedication to academics consistent with the Lyon mission, and the transition will allow us to compete with similar selective colleges that have similar academic expectations and recruiting strategies.

How are students’ scholarships affected?

Students’ total financial aid amount will not be affected. D3 schools offer academic merit-based scholarships and institutional grants instead of athletic specific scholarships. This means that if a D3 student athlete stops playing their sport, they will not lose any of their financial aid. 

Lyon student athletes’ athletic aid will be reconfigured with a combination of academic scholarships and institutional grants. For Lyon student athletes moving forward, their financial aid will be reflected as Lyon scholarships and grants. The total dollar amount of aid will not change. If you have a question about your financial aid, please contact Executive Director of Financial Aid, Tommy Tucker at (870) 307-7257 or thomas.tucker@lyon.edu.

Can current Lyon College student athletes keep their scholarships if they decide to stop playing their sport?

Yes. With the transition to NCAA D3, current student athletes will have their athletic scholarships reconfigured as institutional aid. The amount of institutional aid will not change. If a student athlete wishes to stop playing their sport, they will still keep all institutional aid as long as they maintain academic good standing or until they achieve 120 undergraduate credits.

What is the timeline for the transition?

Lyon will take the first step in the process of transitioning by applying for an exploratory membership in the NCAA Division III. Once approved, the College will present a request for an expedited provisional membership to begin in the fall 2022 semester with the intention that it can potentially be a full member of the division by fall 2025. Lyon will be a full member by fall 2026 at the latest, pending NCAA approval. 

How will switching to NCAA Division III benefit students?

NCAA Division III has a commitment to academics that the College feels is more aligned with the priorities of Lyon College. Since D3 schools offer merit-based academic scholarships and  institutional grants instead of athletic specific scholarships, Lyon student athletes will not lose their financial aid if they stop playing their sport. This will allow our student athletes to focus on their academics.

The transition will also allow our students to compete with similar selective colleges that have similar academic expectations and recruiting strategies.

Will this save the College money?

At this time, the transition should not increase spending for the College. The College’s decision to transition to D3 was made with the Lyon College mission as its primary focus and the intention to graduate well-prepared and successful students. Any financial benefits will be difficult to gauge until all conference home and away schedules are finalized. 

Will student athletes miss more or less class?

Team schedules and travel should reduce the number of days that most students miss class, but this can be better determined once Lyon has identified, selected, and joined its D3 conference.

Will the current student athletes keep their same scholarships?

es, the scholarships for student athletes will remain the same with the athletic aid being reconfigured as institutional scholarship and grant aid. For the rest of the academic year, students’ financial aid in MyLyon will still reflect athletic aid, but it will show as institutional aid for the 2022-2023 academic year. Their financial aid amount will not change.

How soon will 2022-2023 financial aid packages go out?

Aid awards will be completed within the next week. Please contact Executive Director of Financial Aid Tommy Tucker at (870) 307-7257 or thomas.tucker@lyon.edu if you have any questions.

What conference will we play in?

The College is beginning conversations with several different conferences in the next few weeks. Upon approval by the NCAA, Lyon will be eligible to formally join D3 conferences. The College should have a conference home in the coming months.

How will we compete for National Championships?

NCAA restricts colleges from competing for national postseason play until a college becomes a full member. In the meantime, Lyon will be pursuing options to provide students the opportunity to compete in national postseason tournaments. Student athletes may be eligible to compete in NAIA 2022-2023 championships. During and after the 2022-2023 season, sports programs may have opportunities in postseason play through the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).

When are we done playing in our current conference?

Lyon will be working with the NAIA and our conferences to make the transition as easy as possible for all parties involved, but a definitive date has not been set.

How will the transition impact coaches?

We will be moving to the D3 model for an allowable number of contests immediately, and athletic programs will be adhering to NCAA rules by Sept. 1, 2022. Per NCAA rules, offering financial aid to all prospective students will exclusively become the Office of Admissions’ responsibility. In addition, there are no plans to change the coaching staff for any of the athletic teams, and Lyon will retain all athletic programs.

How will the transition benefit athletics?

The college experience is a time of learning and growth—a chance to follow passions and develop potential. For student athletes, Lyon wants to make sure that there is a balance between academics and athletics.  We feel that D3 experience provides for passionate participation in a competitive athletics environment, in which student-athletes push themselves to excellence and build upon their academic success with new challenges and life skills.

The level of competitiveness in the students and coaches will not change, but the ability for students and coaches to be involved in other aspects of campus will be the greatest benefit to athletics.