The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced July 11 that Point Loma Nazarene University has been approved for Division II candidacy. The university had previously accepted an invitation to join the Pacific West Conference (PacWest), pending acceptance into the NCAA.
“PLNU is pleased to be accepted into NCAA DII membership and we look forward to full participation in the PacWest,” said Dr. 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 Nazarene University’s approval.
“Today’s announcement culminates an application process that began several months ago,” said Hamilton. “Several people have worked extremely hard to make this happen and we will continue working towards being a model NCAA Division II institution.”
Included in the preparation process was the appointment of Dr. John Wright as Faculty Athletic Representative, Sarah Gustin as Senior Woman Administrator and Jackie Armstrong as Compliance Coordinator.
With its successful application for Division II membership, PLNU will now enter into a three-year transition period before earning full NCAA status. The Sea Lions will function as before in the upcoming 2011-12 school year and athletic season, remaining active members within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). During this time the athletic department will also work towards meeting NCAA first year requirements.
Starting in the fall of 2012, PLNU will join the PacWest 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.
“I am thrilled for PLNU athletics to be moving forward within the NCAA framework to provide a Christ-centered environment where our students-athletes can holistically grow while pursuing academic and athletic distinction,” said Hamilton.
Two other GSAC schools, Azusa Pacific University and Fresno Pacific University, were also accepted into the NCAA Division II membership process on Monday. Both will join the PacWest along with PLNU. Holy Names University has been asked to join the PacWest as well – pending NCAA approval – which would push the number of schools in the conference to 14 in 2012. HNU learns of the NCAA’s decision on Tuesday. California Baptist has already left the GSAC for the PacWest.
The NCAA was founded in 1910 and is the governing body for more than 1,200 schools with more than 400,000 student-athletes. In 1973, the membership divided among three divisions: I, II and III. There are presently 293 schools competing in the NCAA Division II, excluding institutions that are in the candidacy process.
Point Loma Nazarene University is a selective liberal arts university located in San Diego, California. PLNU sits on a 90-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In addition to more than 60 undergraduate areas of study, PLNU offers graduate program regional centers in Bakersfield, Arcadia, Mission Valley (San Diego) and the Inland Empire. Founded in 1902, PLNU serves more than 3,500 students.
The Sea Lion athletic program fields 13 intercollegiate sport teams: men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s golf, baseball, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s track and field. Women’s golf is set to begin in the fall of 2011.
PLNU has been affiliated with the NAIA since the association changed its name from the NAIB to the NAIA in 1952. The school is a charter member of the GSAC, a conference formed in 1986.