The NCAA accepted 10 schools into NCAA Division II membership Monday, and three were Nazarene.
With successful applications for Division II membership, Point Loma Nazarene University, Southern Nazarene University, and Trevecca Nazarene University will now enter into a three-year transition period before earning full NCAA status.
"PLNU is pleased to be accepted into NCAA D-II membership and we look forward to full participation in the PacWest," said Bob Brower, university president. "This important step in our athletic program will provide exciting opportunities for our student-athletes and the university."
Athletic Director Ethan Hamilton received a phone call from the NCAA Division II Membership Committee confirming Point Loma's approval.
"Today's (Monday's) announcement culminates an application process that began several months ago," Hamilton said. "Several people have worked extremely hard to make this happen and we will continue working toward being a model NCAA Division II institution."
Point Loma, located in San Diego, California, will now enter into a three-year transition period before earning full NCAA status. The Sea Lions will remain active members within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) and participate in the 2011-12 athletic season. During this time the athletic department also will work toward meeting NCAA first year requirements.
Starting in the fall of 2012, Point Loma will join the PacWest, a D-II conference, and begin the second and third years of NCAA transition. Sea Lion athletic teams will be eligible for regular season PacWest championships and awards, but will not be able to compete in regional and national postseason play until awarded full NCAA membership in 2014-15.
"For almost 50 years SNU has been playing intercollegiate athletics, and today represents a new direction in that journey," SNU President Loren Gresham said Monday. "We are excited to have been notified of our acceptance into the membership process of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II. We now enter a phase of competition that hopefully will lead to full membership at the conclusion of the three-year process."
SNU, located in Bethany, Oklahoma, will immediately enter the first year of candidacy and will continue to compete in the NAIA for the 2011-12 athletic season. The second year of candidacy will run for the 2012-13 academic year, and if SNU is voted on through to the second year by the NCAA, it will no longer compete as a member of the NAIA or the Sooner Athletic Conference.
The university also will join the DII Great America Conference, which includes Arkansas at Monticello, Arkansas Tech, East Central Oklahoma, Harding (Arkansas), Henderson State (Arkansas), Ouachita Baptist (Arkansas), Southeastern Oklahoma State, Southern Arkansas, and Southwestern Oklahoma State.
SNU will not be eligible to participate in postseason play in either the NAIA or the NCAA during the second year of candidacy.
The third year is the provisional year and will run for the 2013-14 academic year. SNU will not be able to participate in postseason play until the school becomes an active Division II member, but SNU will eligible to play a full NCAA and Great America Conference schedule. The provisional stage is set for evaluation if the institution is ready to become a full fledge member of NCAA D-II.
"The timing seems to be right, the Great American Conference invitation is a good fit, and the support from our campus is strong for such a move," Gresham added. "With fond appreciation for our NAIA affiliation over the past 40 plus years, we now look ahead to becoming a part of a new venture for our intercollegiate athletic programs. We plan to continue offering a balanced athletic program that complements SNU's delivery of quality higher education in a faith-developing, Christ-centered manner."
The NCAA committee reviews each school in the process annually to determine if the institution should repeat any year in the process. There is not a guarantee to move from one year to the next.
"While we have a sense of relief that preparation for application is over and the first hurdle has been cleared, we know that this is just the first step in a long process," SNU's Director of Athletics Bobby Martin said.
Trevecca, in Nashville, Tennessee, also received news Monday that the NCAA accepted its application for membership.
"I am grateful to Dr. Brenda Patterson, Dr. Steve Harris, and their team for their outstanding work during the application process and Coach C. M. Newton for his encouragement and friendship throughout the process," Trevecaa President Dan Boone said. "Acceptance into candidacy will allow Trevecca the opportunity to become the leading NCAA D-II school in Nashville. This is a very good day for our university."
While it completes the three-year provisional NCAA membership, Trevecca plans to remain an active member of both the NAIA and the TranSouth Athletic Conference (TSAC) for the upcoming 2011-2012 season.
Trevecca's conference affiliation after 2012 has not been decided. Currently three NCAA D-II conferences could feasibly host the Trevecca athletic programs - the Peach Belt Conference, Gulf South Conference, and the South Atlantic Conference.
"It is a home run for Trevecca to be selected for Division-II membership. Dan Boone and his staff did an outstanding job of presenting Trevecca to the NCAA Committee, and I am happy for them and Trevecca," said Newton, who consulted with Trevecca for its athletic department self study.
Trevecca will now enter a three-year candidacy process with the NCAA; year three is the provisional year. Within Trevecca's immediate region, Tennessee has seven NCAA D-II schools, Alabama has seven, and Kentucky has four members.
Currently Northwest Nazarene University is the only Nazarene school in NCAA D-II athletics.