Presentation College has a new collegiate division and a new conference is in site.
The Saints have been accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and will begin competing in the association this fall.
“We are very excited about our acceptance into the NAIA as it will mean a great deal for our athletic department and college,” Presentation College athletic director Brian Spielbauer said in a statement.
Also on Monday, Presentation College and four other colleges and universities announced their intention to form a new athletic conference in the Upper Midwest. This new NAIA North Star Athletic Association is set to commence with the start of the 2013-14 academic year. The members of the new conference include: Presentation College, Dakota State, Jamestown College, Mayville State and Valley City State.
The NAIA officially recognized the establishment of the new conference during a meeting of the Council of Presidents on Monday in Kansas City, Mo. The COP, the NAIA’s chief governing body, voted to formally recognize the North Star Athletic Association as an NAIA-affiliated conference beginning in 2013-14. The five schools are also announcing today that a sixth member has been invited to join their conference.
Dickinson State, currently a member of the NAIA’s Frontier Conference, said it has been invited to join the North Star Athletic Association beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.
Valley City State president Steven Shirley has led conference formation efforts and serves on the NAIA’s Council of Presidents.
“Significant efforts have been under way during the past year by our five schools in working to form a new athletic conference in the Upper Midwest,” Shirley said in a statement. “The North Star will be a tremendous source of pride for our institutions, as well as our student-athletes, supporters, coaches, communities and alumni. We are excited to invite a school with such deep athletic traditions as Dickinson State University into this new conference, and will continue exploring options to welcome additional regional members as well. All of our colleges and universities are quite excited and enthusiastic about working together in the years ahead.”
Presentation College applied for acceptance into the NAIA in October. Presentation had a site visit from the NAIA in early February.
“This is a great day for Presentation College and the athletic department here,” PC athletic advancement coordinator Jackie Witlock said in a statement. “This move will surely change the landscape of the college for years to come.”
The NAIA’s core values and philosophy on athletics in higher education played a vital role in PC’s decision to apply for the association.
“This is much more than being able to offer athletic scholarships to potential students,” Presentation College President Dr. Margaret A. Huber said in a statement. “It’s about joining an athletic association dedicated to building the whole person through its core values and Champions of Character Initiative.”
The athletic department at Presentation College currently offers eight sports: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, football, baseball and softball. The college announced in February that it would bring back men’s and women’s golf this fall after suspending the 2012 season.
Presentation College was a NCAA Division III independent during this school year. The move from NCAA Division III to the NAIA means PC can now offer its student athletes with the possibility of receiving athletic scholarships, which should help PC’s enrollment numbers and also help coaches recruit even more athletes, according to the statement.
“The opportunity to offer athletic scholarships will immediately impact our program’s ability to obtain a higher number of student-athletes, as well as assist us in gaining interest from high quality student-athletes,” PC football coach Andy Carr said in a statement.
The Presentation College athletic department is already gearing up and ready to offer a number of current student athletes and recruits the opportunity to play sports and attend PC.
“We look forward to signing the letters of intent with all the students and recruits that have committed to PC and look forward to stepping up our level of competition,” Spielbauer said.
The North Star Athletic Assocation plans to hire the commissioner later this spring and be in full-time operation by July 2013. The job posting can be seen at ncaamarket.ncaa.org/jobs.
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