The Griffins are trying to move up.
Westminster College president Brian Levin-Stankevich announced this week that the school accepted an invitation to join the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference while also applying for NCAA Division II membership. The school has been a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) since the 1950s.
The move to change conferences and apply to become an official D-II member comes following a year-long review of options that were presented at that time, according to a news release from the school and, “is a result of a limited opportunity open to the college to join a conference that is expanding its membership.”
“We have enjoyed our relationship with the NAIA and the Frontier Conference,” said Levin-Stankevich in the release. “The Frontier Conference is an excellent conference, and we have been pleased during our time as a member. However, the Board of Trustees agrees that strategically, the NCAA and RMAC are better long-term fits for the goals and aspirations we have for the college and our athletic department.”
The Griffins currently feature than 240 student athletes competing on 17 athletic teams.
“Over the past several years we’ve assessed how best to ensure our athletic program reaches its full potential and further complements the academic quality and student experience our institution offers,” athletic director Shay Wyatt said in the same release. “While our membership in the NAIA and Frontier Conference has been positive, we believe eventual membership in the NCAA and RMAC aligns very well with both institutional and department goals we’ve set forth. Achieving such goals will make Westminster College an even more attractive choice for outstanding student-athletes.”
As a result of accepting the RMAC’s invite, Westminster submitted its NCAA application prior to the Feb. 1 deadline, and has begun what it hopes to be a three-year process toward full membership in NCAA Division II. Westminster will continue to hold membership in the NAIA and the Frontier Conference through the 2014-2015 academic year, but will play a full schedule against RMAC opponents beginning in 2015-2016 if accepted into the NCAA Division II membership process in July 2014.