A new era in Lindenwood University athletics started today when the school was notified that it has been accepted into NCAA Division II candidacy.
“This is wonderful news for our institution,” said Lindenwood President James D. Evans, Ph.D., who has been actively involved in the application process. “It is an exciting time. We’ve made many changes in athletics over the past year, and there are many more to come. We’re all very proud, but there is much work yet to be done.”
Lindenwood will remain a member of the NAIA during the first two years of its NCAA candidacy. In 2012-13, Lindenwood will enter a provisional year in the NCAA in which it must follow all NCAA regulations but will not be eligible for postseason competition. Assuming all expectations have been met, Lindenwood will become a full member of the NCAA in 2013-14.
Lindenwood plans to have 26 sports programs when it begins play at the NCAA level. These include all 21 sports that currently compete in the NAIA, as well as field hockey, women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s volleyball. Every sport will compete at the NCAA Division II level except for women’s ice hockey and men’s volleyball, which will compete at the National Collegiate level, which includes NCAA Division I schools. Lindenwood’s other sports will compete at the club level.
“This is a day we have been working toward,” said Athletics Director John Creer. “So many people worked long and hard to make this happen. But if anyone is singled out, it has to be President Evans. His support has been incredible.”
Creer said the next step for Lindenwood is applying immediately for membership in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), whose member presidents recently voted to consider expanding from 12 schools to 16. Current members of that conference are the University of Central Missouri, Emporia State University (Kan.), Fort Hays State University (Kan.), Lincoln University (Mo.), Missouri Southern State University, Missouri Western State University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Northwest Missouri State University, Pittsburg State University (Kan.), Southwest Baptist University (Mo.), Truman State University (Mo.), and Washburn University (Kan.).
“The MIAA is the strongest Division II conference in the country,” said Creer. “We believe Lindenwood is a good fit academically and athletically for the MIAA. It will be a challenge, but it is one we are all excited about.”
Lindenwood has built one of the top athletics programs in the NAIA in recent years. The school has won 10 NAIA National Championships since 1998 and has finished fifth or better in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings for 11 out of the last 12 years.