Northwestern to Apply for Membership in NCAA

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Northwestern to Apply for Membership in NCAA

Northwestern to Apply for Membership in NCAAFollowing nearly a year of study regarding its athletic affiliation, officials at Northwestern Oklahoma State University say the school will apply for membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Northwestern will seek membership in Division II of the association.

“I believe we have conducted a thorough assessment of the future of our athletic program and its role as part of institution’s mission and strategic plan,” said Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president. “We have concluded that Northwestern and its student-athletes will be best served through membership in the NCAA.”

Cunningham said Northwestern will have its application completed and submitted in time for the NCAA’s review process next summer.

The Division II membership process includes a two-year candidacy period and at least one provisional year before institutions are granted active membership.

“We are aware that there is potential for a large number of institutions to apply for only a few openings,” Cunningham said. “We have and will continue to spend a great deal of time preparing our application and moving the school toward NCAA compliance.”

Northwestern has retained the services of Oliver and Lindemenn Athletic Consulting to assist with its application process.

In December 2009, a task force comprised of administrators, faculty, staff, student-athletes, alumni and community members recommended that Northwestern end its long-standing membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and become a member of the NCAA.

Earlier this fall, a feasibility committee also recommended NCAA membership. Also this fall, the athletic department put together a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and an Athletic Advisory Committee, both of which support the move to NCAA.

“We have engaged our university community and alumni in this process and they strongly support our application,” said Bob Battisti, director of athletics. “Our coaches and student-athletes are excited about the opportunities offered by NCAA membership.”

Cunningham said any timelines regarding current and future conference membership will be driven by the NCAA’s decision on Northwestern’s membership application.