Northwestern moving forward with exploration of NCAA membership

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Northwestern moving forward with exploration of NCAA membership

July 20, 2010

Northwestern Oklahoma State University will move forward with the process of exploring membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

“The leadership of Northwestern believes it is in the best long-term interest of the institution to move forward with the exploration process,” said Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president. “We must look ahead and determine the athletic affiliation that best matches with the mission and goals of our university and athletic program.”

In December of 2009, a 12-member task force unanimously recommended that Northwestern begin an exploration of membership with the NCAA in Division II.

In its recommendation, the task force pointed out a number of advantages to NCAA membership: including renewing ties with former in-state rivals; connecting the university with the image and brand name of the NCAA; fiscal stability of the NCAA and full reimbursement for participation in national postseason play; consistency of governance, rules and regulations; and increased academic standards for initial eligibility of student-athletes.

Cunningham said Northwestern will work with an outside consulting firm during the fall semester to complete a comprehensive review of the university’s athletic program. If membership in the NCAA is recommended then the consultant will work with the administration on its application.

“The changing landscape of small college athletics presents us with opportunities as well as challenges,” said Cunningham. “What is clear is that we must make some strategic decisions concerning the future of our athletic programs in order to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.”

Bob Battisti, athletics director, said he expects the comprehensive review to be completed in the spring of 2011.