AUM accepted into NCAA Division II membership process
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has announced that Auburn Montgomery has been approved to begin the three-year Division II membership process, which will officially begin Sept. 1, 2013. Chancellor John G. Veres III and Athletic Director Steve Crotz were notified of the D-II Membership Committee’s decision via email Friday afternoon.
"We are excited about the upcoming transition to Division II of the NCAA," Veres said. "Division II’s emphasis on maintaining a healthy balance between athletic and academic pursuits is consistent with Auburn Montgomery’s philosophy and vital to continuing our tradition of excellent performance in the classroom and on the courts, fields and pitches of intercollegiate athletics. We are looking forward to the challenge of competing in the NCAA."
The Warhawks will begin a three-year process of transition to NCAA Division II membership from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). AUM will remain a member of the NAIA and Southern States Athletic Conference through the 2013-14 season, a transition period called Candidacy Year One with the NCAA. AUM will be eligible for postseason within both the SSAC and the NAIA during the upcoming season.
In Candidacy Year Two, the Warhawks will begin competing in a conference at the NCAA Division II level. Prior to submitting its application for membership on Feb. 1, AUM received a letter of support of its application from the Peach Belt Conference and its Board of Directors.
Following completion of Candidacy Year Three, traditionally known as a provisional year, the Warhawks will gain full NCAA membership and become eligible to compete for NCAA Division II championships, beginning as early as 2016-17. The Division II membership committee annually determines if an institution should be moved forward into the next candidacy year, and it can require an institution to repeat a year if progress is not sufficient.
"We are so grateful to the tremendous support received from the Auburn University Board of Trustees, Chancellor Veres, our Senior Administration, our student body and the SGA leadership, our faculty and our staff throughout this process," said Crotz. "We have worked diligently over the past several years in regards to our branding, infrastructure, academic support and performance, sports offerings, and facility enhancements to bring this members outcome to fruition. Now the real work begins as we further transition our department into compliance as a NCAA Division II member with total focus on the student-athlete experience."
Auburn Montgomery has a storied history of athletic success. AUM teams have captured 22 NAIA National Championships, earning 13 titles in women’s tennis and nine in men’s tennis. Additionally, the institution has 21 national runner-up finishes in six different sports. The Warhawks’ 10 programs have combined to win 96 conference and district championships. AUM also sports a winning percentage of .604 or better in all eight of its head-to-head sports. Recently, AUM posted its highest finish since the 2006-07 season in in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings with 333 points. The Warhawks finished 36th among all NAIA institutions, a mark which trailed only outgoing member Lee University in the conference. The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 12 sports – six women’s and six men’s. Perhaps even more impressive is the academic success of the Warhawks during the past year, as a record-setting number of student-athletes achieved a 3.0 grade point average or better. During the 2012 fall semester, 98 student-athletes earned a 3.0 GPA or better, a mark which accounts for 57 percent of all student-athletes. AUM athletes extended the record-setting mark during the 2013 spring semester, as an unprecedented 61 percent (104-of-172) of its student-athletes made the Athletic Academic Honor Roll. In addition, seven of the 10 teams posted a team GPA of 3.0 or higher, while the 172 student-athletes, student assistant coaches, managers and graduate assistant coaches, combined for a term grade point average of 3.02. During the 2012-13 season, 31 student-athletes were named to their respective SSAC All-Academic teams, while seven student-athletes earned NAIA Scholar Athlete honors.
Founded in 1906, the NCAA is the most recognized brand in college sports and administers 89 championships in 23 sports for its member institutions. There are more than 400,000 student-athletes competing in three divisions at more than 1,100 colleges and universities within the NCAA. Division II is home to 315 of the association’s 1,108 members, and is home to seven institutions in the state of Alabama. The average enrollment of Division II school’s is 4,163, with 2013 membership composed of public universities (51 percent) and private institutions (49 percent). The Division II membership is focused on an "academics first" philosophy, and the division’s commitment to academic excellence supports the primary mission for NCAA schools - "We are preparing student-athletes to go pro in something other than sports."