KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Council of Presidents is pleased to announce the approval of six institutions for membership in the NAIA, five as active members and one as an associate member, effective August 1, 2014.
The five new active members are Lincoln Christian University (Ill.), Middle Georgia State College, Texas A&M University – Texarkana, Washington Adventist University (Md.) and University of Winnipeg (Can.).
The new associate member is Trinity Lutheran College (Wash.), which will be evaluated for active membership at the end of the 2014-15 academic year.
Washington Adventist will be eligible for NAIA postseason play in 2014-15 due to their return to the NAIA from NCAA Division II.
“We are always pleased to welcome new members to the Association,” said Les Purce, chair of the NAIA Council of Presidents and President of Evergreen State College (Wash.). “These are quality institutions that have been through a rigorous review process and meet the high standards the NAIA Membership Committee has set.”
The NAIA Membership Committee reviewed each institution’s application and determined which institutions would move to the next stage of the process. Those institutions then participated in a campus visit by a Membership Evaluation Team. The recommendations of each campus visit were supported by the Membership Committee, which then were presented to the Council of Presidents for final approval.
Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO, noted that this is the second year in a row in which the Association has seen a school return to NAIA membership.
“There is a change in the landscape of intercollegiate athletics,” Carr said. “Our association offers a different approach that places student-athletes at the center of all decision-making and focuses on character at the core of sports. Institutions recognize the value NAIA brings and desire to be a part of this great organization.”
The NAIA is in the third year of its new membership process, where institutions are only able to apply for NAIA membership on an annual basis. Membership applications must be received in the NAIA office by Oct.1 each year to receive consideration for the following year. Institutions applying to the NAIA must meet membership criteria that include financial stability, sports sponsorship, accreditation and a commitment to character-driven athletics. The Membership Committee also reviews enrollment numbers, graduation percentages, retention rates and overall athletics budgets.