Concordia Approved For Full NCAA Division II Membership

Friday, July 14, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It’s official: Concordia University is a full member of NCAA Division II.

The university, along with four other institutions, was approved for full membership by the NCAA Division II Membership Committee and announced on July 14. The approval completes a three-year transition process by Concordia from membership in the NAIA to the NCAA.

“On behalf of the entire GNAC membership, it is with great pride that I congratulate president Charles Schlimpert and the Concordia University community on achieving full-member NCAA status,” said GNAC commissioner Dave Haglund. “Since being admitted into the NCAA’s membership process three years ago, Concordia has proved to be an outstanding addition to the GNAC and Division II. We look forward to Concordia now sharing completely in all of the benefits full membership provides.”

With full membership approval, Concordia’s 15 teams are now eligible for NCAA postseason competition, allowing the Cavaliers to compete for automatic and at-large berths into NCAA Division II national meets and tournaments. The Cavaliers were approved as GNAC members in 2013 and have competed as full members of the conference since the 2015-16 season.

“Concordia University is proud to be a full member of NCAA Division II,” Schlimpert said. “The dedication of our athletic staff, coaches and student-athletes is evident both on and off the field as they embody servent leadership and a desire to make the world a better place.”

Since attaining full membership in the GNAC, Concordia athletes have made the best of the opportunities provided leading up to full membership in Division II. The Cavaliers were named the conference’s Academic All-Sports Champion for 2016-17 and saw 45 athletes named to all-conference teams during the last academic year. Three Concordia teams (women’s soccer and softball in 2016 and men’s basketball in 2017) have qualified for the GNAC Championships.

In addition, the Concordia men’s golf team was the runner-up at the GNAC Golf Championships while their men’s outdoor track and field team placed third at the conference meet in May.

“The transition to NCAA Division II was a team effort,” said Lauren Eads, Concordia’s interim director of athletics. “The entire Concordia community participated and committed themselves to this goal. We are a better department having gone through this comprehensive process and we are eager for the opportunity to now compete as full members.”

In anticipation of its transition to Division II, Concordia invested heavily into its athletics facilities. The university opened its Hilken Community Stadium in 2011 for its soccer and baseball teams. The stadium underwent renovations during the 2016-17 year to allow it to also host softball games, providing the Cavalier softball program its first on-campus home. Over the last two years, Concordia has conducted enhancements to its home gym, LCEF Court, and completed a renovation of its weight room.

“Going through the NCAA membership process truly required effort and action from the entire campus community,” said associate athletic director Amy Dames Smith, who was the point person for Concordia’s transition effort. “It involved not only athletics staff, coaches and student-athletes, but also faculty and key campus departments. We could have not accmplished this without total buy-in from the entire campus community.”

The Concordia community will celebrate achieving full Division II membership with a series of events during the Cavaliers’ home soccer doubleheader on Sat., Oct. 7.

Other schools joining Concordia in attaining full NCAA Division II membership include Cal State San Marcos, Concordia-Irvine, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and Oklahoma Baptist. The addition of the five schools brings the Division II membership up to 308 colleges and universities. In addition, Biola University, which is slated to join the PacWest Conference, was approved to begin the second year of its transition process from NAIA membership.