On Friday the NCAA Membership Committee announced that Lee is cleared to move forward into its “provisional year,” the third and last phase before gaining active membership in the 2015-16 academic year.
Also making this step with Lee are five other colleges — Daemen College, Lubbock Christian University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Christian University and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Holy Names University was asked to repeat year two of the candidacy period.
“I am thrilled to learn of the positive action of the NCAA DII Membership Committee,” said Dr. Paul Conn, president of Lee University.
“We feel that we had a very strong year, and we have learned a lot in the process. We appreciate so much the support of the NCAA DII staff in helping prepare us to enter the third year of this demanding and exciting process. My special thanks go to Cole Strong (director of Special Projects) for leading this successful effort and to (athletic director) Larry Carpenter and all the athletic staff for their hard work all year.”
Strong said, “Our reporting committee worked hard over the past year to make sure we submitted a strong annual report. We are excited to receive this news from the Membership Committee. We will now turn our attention to the final year of the transition process.”
Carpenter shared the same feelings.
“We were overjoyed to receive the news informing us that we were moving forward to the provisional year in the membership process,” he noted.
“It has truly been a collaborative effort from various departments on campus. We look forward to another strong year and anticipate moving to full NCAA membership a year from now.”
NCAA Division II will grow to 300 members in September after the Membership Committee approved eight schools for active status during its July 7 and 8 meeting in Indianapolis, Ind.
Of the schools that completed the third year of the division’s membership process, the following advanced to full membership: Azusa Pacific University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Roberts Wesleyan University, Shorter University, Southern Nazarene University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Union University and Young Harris College.
The committee recommended Fresno Pacific University repeat the provisional year due to violations tied to impermissible student-athlete benefits in the men’s and women’s tennis program.
Eight schools, all current members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, applied this year for Division II membership. The following were accepted into the process: California State University, San Marcos, Concordia University Irvine, Concordia University Oregon, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Oklahoma Baptist University.
Mississippi College, Rogers State University and Spring Hill College successfully completed the first year of candidacy membership and will advance to year two.
The committee recommended Emmanuel College (Georgia) and Southern Wesleyan University repeat the first year.
The committee’s decisions will be reviewed by the NCAA Division II Management Council as part of its regular process during its July 21 and 22 meeting, and if no further action is taken at that time, the membership changes will take effect Sept. 1.