In one of the largest voter turnouts in school history, the students of Tarleton State University have approved an increase in the intercollegiate athletic fee. Final acceptance of the increase is pending approval of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

With more than 68 percent of the vote in favor, the referendum overwhelmingly passed which allows Tarleton to move forward with the process of becoming an NCAA Division I institution.

"This is a major step in the right direction," said Tarleton president Dr. James Hurley. "I'm proud of our student body for making their voices heard and wanting to raise the profile of Tarleton State University. The passing of this referendum benefits more than just athletics, it will provide more exposure and visibility to our university, community and alumni. Tarleton has a regional legacy of academic and athletic excellence; now the entire country will have the opportunity to learn more about this incredible institution."

On Sept. 30, Tarleton received an official invitation from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) to join the league in the fall of 2020. The funds from the referendum allow Tarleton and the WAC to continue the membership process.

"To see Tarleton move from an NAIA school to a Division I university in 30 years is a testament to The Texas A&M University System, our administration, student body, alumni, and fans," said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lonn Reisman. "This is a historic time for Tarleton State University and the beginning of what will be great things ahead."

The university will continue working with WAC officials regarding membership starting next fall.