The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has advanced Concordia University Irvine (CUI) to year three—the final year—of the NCAA DII (Division II) Membership process, Concordia announced today. CUI will continue toward full membership in 2017-18 making it the only NCAA DII school in Orange County if approved by the NCAA.
Last July, Concordia University Irvine was accepted into and began competing as a Provisional Member of the PacWest (Pacific West) Conference and the NCAA Division II. This past season, Eagle’s men’s basketball tied for first place, while the Eagles overall finished seventh in the PacWest Commissioner’s Cup. PacWest Conference schools include Azusa Pacific University, California Baptist University, Fresno Pacific University, and Point Loma Nazarene University, as well as institutions in Hawaii, the Bay Area, and Southern Utah. The PacWest falls within the NCAA Division II West Region, along with the California Collegiate Athletic Association and Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Consistent growth in enrollment and financial stability at Concordia University Irvine, as well as notability in athletics, and academic honors and achievements, have positioned CUI to pursue NCAA Division II membership.
“We believe that the NCAA Division II model is an excellent fit with our Lutheran heritage, our core values, and our approach to educating the whole person,” said Concordia University Irvine President Kurt Krueger.
Advancing in the Division II acceptance process is a testament to the quality of our University’s faculty, staff, and overall educational experience.
A balanced emphasis on academic excellence and athletic achievement make NCAA Division II colleges and universities attractive to student-athletes. With seasons not played year-long, student-athletes are able to take part in campus life, do well academically, and foster relationships in the community while undertaking their athletic pursuits, according to the NCAA.
“Concordia Athletics strives to be a national-level program,” said CUI Athletic Director Mo Roberson.
With an athletics program known for outstanding graduation rates and academic honors, combined with a school committed to integrity and the well-being of the student-athlete, joining the NCAA benefits everyone.
This marks the second university that Roberson is helping to transition into NCAA DII membership. Roberson was part of a team at California Baptist University in Riverside that spearheaded the transition from NAIA into NCAA DII.
The NCAA is the governing body of athletic programs at more than 1,200 higher education institutions in the United States. NCAA Division II is made up of 300 colleges and universities in 44 states. A high championship participant ratio—the highest among all three NCAA Divisions—is credited to an emphasis on regional competition which helps student-athletes reduce missed class times. Colleges and universities seeking to become NCAA Division II members must complete a three-year membership process before becoming active and eligible for championship competition.
Concordia University Irvine has 20 varsity sports and approximately 450 student-athletes who currently participate in its athletic program. Prior to pursuing NCAA DII membership, CUI was a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Over the last five years, CUI has won five NAIA National Championship Titles in baseball, men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s volleyball and, most recently, softball in 2013.