OKATIE, S.C. (WSAV) – A new day is dawning for the USC-Beaufort Sand Sharks, as they officially completed their move from the NAIA into NCAA Division II on Thusday.

“What a great day for USCB and our entire community,” said USCB athletic director Quin Monahan in a press release. “This is a day we have worked toward and anticipated for several years, and I could not be more thrilled.”

The Sand Sharks announced their intent to move to the DII Peach Belt Conference last year, but still had to go through the application process and have the NCAA sign off on their move.

This now begins a three-year probationary membership process, in which USCB will play Division II competition but be barred from any postseason appearances. They will be eligible for the NAIA postseason in year one of that process, the 2022-’23 season, and will still be considered a member of the Colonial Athletic Conference.

After that, the Sand Sharks will join the Peach Belt, where fellow state university program USC-Aiken competes. Successfully passing the checkpoints of two more years of probation will lead to full DII membership in 2025-’26.

Adding men’s and women’s basketball is part of USC-Beaufort’s move to Division II; those teams will both begin competition in 2023-’24. The university is hoping to hire inaugural head coaches for both squads to start in Fall of 2022.

The plan is for basketball to eventually become the primary tenant in a new on-campus arena, which is expected to cost around $50 million. There is no public timeline for that arena yet, as the university has only secured preliminary funding.