Westminster College has been approved to begin the three-year Division II membership process for the NCAA.
NCAA Division II is one of the three membership divisions at the National Collegiate Athletic Association, an organization comprising more than 1,200 institutions, conferences and affiliated organizations.
“We are pleased to be approved for ‘Candidacy Year One’ in NCAA Division II and become part of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference,” said Steve Morgan, president of Westminster College. “NCAA Division II encourages excellence in its student-athletes and provides a supportive environment to move our athletic program forward in a student-focused manner.”
The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) is a premier NCAA Division II conference encompassing the states of Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah.
“The RMAC provides quality competition, which will be challenging and exciting for our teams and fans,” said Shay Wyatt, director of athletics. “It will take time for our coaches and student-athletes to adjust to the level of competition and achieve consistent results.”
The NCAA transition does come with a price, though.
According to the NCAA Division II application online, which costs $33,000 to submit, the applying college will pay a fee of $14,900 for the membership process and NCAA annual dues as well as “an additional $14,900 shall be due every year thereafter until the institution is accepted into active Division II status.”
Students who are not a part of a sports team are trying to understand the purpose of this transition.
“I didn’t go to Westminster to follow their sports teams,” said Alex Miller, a sophomore. “I feel the culture here is based on the outdoors and winter athletics.”
Miller said that if team sports are a means for students to stay in school, then he supports them, although he still considers them to be extracurricular activities.
“I just don’t want any funds to contribute to something that I didn’t sign up for,” he said.
Despite mixed feelings from students about the transition, Griffins are gearing up for the upcoming season.
Wyatt, the athletics director, said, “Our student-athletes are up for the challenge, will give full effort and take great pride in their programs and the college.”