SwimSwam contributor Gisselle Kohoyda wrote this report.
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At the beginning of the academic year on September 1st, 2013, Division II athletics will now welcome eight new schools and a 24th conference. The G-MAC, or the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, will be the second conference to gain active status falling right behind the Mountain East Conference this year.
“The G-MAC is appreciative of the decision reached by the NCAA Division II Membership Committee and is fully prepared to enter the first year of active NCAA conference membership in 2013-14,” said Commissioner Tom Daeger. “The admission to active status is the culmination of an educational process that has assisted the membership in its growth and development and an exciting new opportunity to offer enhanced athletic experiences to the tremendous student-athletes participating in our conference.”*
The following schools have been approved to be placed in active status: Black Hills State, California Baptist, Lindenwood, Malone, Mckendree, South Dakota Mines, Ursuline and Walsh. Out of the eight new schools to be recommended to move from provisional status to active status, only half have a swimming and diving program, while Ursuline College only has a women’s swimming program (California Baptist, Lindenwood, and Malone have both men’s and women’s programs).
Becoming an established Division II athletic department isn’t as simple as changing a label though. There are prices to be paid: a three year mandatory membership process that includes two periods, the two year candidacy period and the one year provisional period, provide time for the school to adopt the attitude to be up to snuff to carry the title of being a Division II educational and athletic establishment.
Since not all of us work in a compliance office at an athletic department and we aren’t picking up NCAA handbooks in our spare time, a small breakdown is provided to map out what happens behind the scenes to be labeled as Division II.
The Candidacy Period year 1
This first part of the assessment is basically making sure the institution is warmed up to the ins and outs of how things work and a demonstrated effort to commitment in the membership process. Every year in January, the NCAA Convention is held with the presidents, athletic directors and compliance officers to make sure everyone is on board and more importantly, discuss candidacy of other schools. Within this year the ISSG, the Institutional Self Study Guide, is distributed and is a tool used to assess the progress of the applicant.
The Candidacy Period year 2
The second year is basically year one revved up that involves much more scrutiny with more hands on involvement by the Division II committee. A two day visit to the campus is made to ensure Division II legislation is being implemented with an update of the ISSG.
The Provisional Period
In the beginning of the final year, a lump sum is submitted that is equal to the annual fee and the Division II membership dues. Finally a compliance outline is assigned to the compliance program which, in a nutshell provides direction for the institution that involves a final and extensive evaluation along with a final update of the ISSG. The kicker about this period is the fact that this year can be required to be repeated if the institute is not seen as fit to advance.
Lindenwood University based out of St. Charles, Missouri, proves to be the team to watch, headlined by their upcoming junior, Ramunas Paknys who competed for his home country of Lithuania in the 2013 World University Games, making his first appearance on the senior national team. He swim the 50, 100 and 200 meter backstroke and placed 36th, 35th and 34th respectively. In his first season with the Lions, head coach Jason Owen made the transfer from his assistant position at Drury University set 21 new school records.
Schools to be moving from year one candidacy to year two candidacy include the following: Daemen, Holy Names, Lubbock Christian, McMurry, Northwestern Oklahoma State, Oklahoma Christian and Virginia Wise. Schools given permission to move from candidacy to provisional are as follows: Azusa Pacific, Fresno Pacific, Point Loma Nazarene, Roberts Wesleyan, Shorter, Southern Nazarene, Trevecca Nazarene, Union and Young Harris. With such upcoming talent and fresh faces, what will Division II have in store for the 2013-2014 season? New faces means new competition; we can expect great things to come from the Division II level.
*: sourced: http://www.g-macsports.com/news/2013/7/12/GEN_0712132649.aspx