FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — After four years of transition, the University of North Alabama has been fully reclassified as a NCAA Division 1 school, effective with the 2022-23 academic year.

The reclassification officially grants UNA access to Division I membership benefits, including full NCAA post-season eligibility beginning this fall.

“This is an energizing and transformative time to be part of the University of North Alabama,” said UNA director of athletics Dr. Josh Looney said in a statement. “Exceeding NCAA reclassification standards is among the most demanding multi-year processes an institution can undertake with its athletic department. This accomplishment reflects a true team effort with numerous campus and community leaders contributing to this historic moment.”

ASUN Conference Commissioner Ted Gumbart shared his excitement about the announcement from the NCAA.  

“Today we celebrate with the entire UNA community! From the first internal consideration of moving to Division I, through the challenges to gain a conference invitation, to the public announcement of joining the ASUN, there were many contributors to the move. Then came four years of meeting goals, NCAA Division I standards and ASUN competition,” Gumbart said. “As with the graduation of our student-athletes, having the Lions move into active NCAA I membership is both a great conclusion and a wonderful new beginning.

All 14 of North Alabama’s athletic teams will be competing together in the ASUN Conference for the first time this fall.