Concordia University Irvine Moves from NAIA to NCAA Division II

Concordia University Irvine has announced that it will move from the NAIA to NCAA Division II. The NCAA officially welcomed the school late last week.

Concordia offers both women’s and men’s swimming and diving, and the two teams compete in the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference. That swim and dive teams will remain in that conference as the school is joining the Pacific West Conference, which does not hold any swimming and diving competitions.

Read the full press release from Concordia University Irvine below:

Concordia University Irvine (CUI) has received approval from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to become a full NCAA DII (Division II) member. The private nonprofit four-year university was notified by NCAA officials today that it had successfully completed the three-year membership process, making it the only NCAA Division II school in Orange County.

“We are very excited to become a full NCAA Division II member,” said Concordia University Irvine President KurtKrueger. “Today’s decision by the NCAA serves as a testament to our core values, faculty and staff, as well as the integrity of our athletics department toward NCAA compliance, our university’s fiscal responsibility, and our commitment to high academic standards,” said Krueger.

In July 2014—when the university began the NCAA DII membership process—Concordia Irvine was accepted into and began competing as a Provisional Member of the PacWest (Pacific West) Conference and the NCAA Division II.

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. Today’s decision moves Concordia from a provisional member to an active member making the University eligible for postseason NCAA DII championship competition. The membership change will take effect Sept. 1.

Consistent growth in enrollment and financial stability, as well as notability in athletics, and academic honors and achievements, positioned Concordia Irvine to pursue NCAA DII membership process.

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-round, 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.

“With an athletics program known for outstanding graduation rates, academic honors and a school committed to integrity and the well-being of the student-athlete, joining the NCAA benefits everyone,” said CUI Athletics Director Mo Roberson. “NCAA DII will allow our student-athletes to seamlessly blend their academic and athletics careers into a balanced lifestyle.”

The NCAA is the governing body of athletics 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 NCAA DII championship competition.

Concordia University Irvine has 19 varsity sports and approximately 450 student-athletes who currently participate in its athletics 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.

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Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is the host of Swimming World TV and a staff writer. A contributor to Swimming World since 2009, he has covered NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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