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NCAA paves way for Concordia's DII, GNAC Membership

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July 11, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. - The NCAA Division II Membership Committee has accepted the application of Concordia University-Portland to join the NCAA, paving the way for its full-time membership in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).

The action is subject to approval by the NCAA Management Council during its annual meeting July 21-22 in Indianapolis.

Concordia will begin the three-year membership process this fall as one of five schools in the 2014-15 first-year candidacy class which was announced today by the NCAA. Cal State San Marcos, Concordia (Calif.), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical and Oklahoma Baptist round out the five-member class of successful applicants.

"We are extremely pleased to learn of Concordia's acceptance into the NCAA, and extend our congratulations to President Charles Schlimpert and the entire Concordia community," said GNAC commissioner Dave Haglund. "Concordia will be an excellent addition to the GNAC and Division II, and we look forward to incorporating them as a full-time member."

The Cavaliers, who were approved for membership in the GNAC last fall pending the NCAA's acceptance of Concordia's application, will continue to compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) during the 2014-15 season.

Concordia will begin competing in the GNAC in 2015-16, but will not be eligible for NCAA post-season play until the fall of 2017. The NCAA will continue to review each school during the candidacy process to determine if the institution should repeat any year of the process.

"Concordia is a quality institution with a proud history in athletics, and we are extremely excited about its prospects as a full-time member of the GNAC," said Brian Rogers, chancellor at University of Alaska Fairbanks and chair of the GNAC CEO Board.

Concordia joins 10 other institutions, which are located in five states and one Canadian province, as full-time members of the GNAC.

Other members include the University of Alaska Anchorage, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Central Washington University, Montana State University Billings, Northwest Nazarene University (Idaho), Saint Martin's University (Wash.), Seattle Pacific University (Wash.), Simon Fraser University (B.C.), Western Oregon University and Western Washington University.

In addition, the GNAC also includes five affiliate members including Azusa Pacific (football), Dixie State (football), Humboldt State (football), the University of Mary (men's soccer) and South Dakota Mines (football and men's soccer).

Azusa Pacific was one of eight schools granted full-time membership by the NCAA in today's announcement bringing the total NCAA DII membership total to 300 institutions.

Concordia sponsors 15 of the GNAC's 16 officially recognized sports. The only sport in which it doesn't participate is football.

"This announcement will mark what will become one of the most defining moments for not only the athletics department, but for Concordia University as a whole," Dr. Schlimpert said. "We are thrilled to be making this next pivotal step towards full membership in the NCAA."

Concordia will compete in the GNAC in men's and women's soccer, volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's outdoor track and field, men's and women's golf, softball, and baseball.

Concordia has had great athletic success at the NAIA level, capturing six consecutive CCC All-Sports trophies and earning 66 conference championships -- including at least one in each of their sports - since 2000.

The Cavaliers have also placed in the Top 20 of the NAIA Directors' Cup standings for six straight seasons, finishing as high as ninth in 2008-09 and 2012-13.

Concordia won the NAIA national championship last fall in women's soccer.

"We are tremendously excited to officially join the GNAC and enter the NCAA membership process. This is an accomplishment that would not have been achieved without the outstanding work from our administration, coaches and staff," English said.

"Not to be forgotten, this step would not have been possible without the decades of excellence from all of our past student-athletes. The culture of success they have built in competition and the classroom cannot be taken lightly as that foundation is what has enabled us to be in this position."

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