The wait is officially over for Fresno Pacific, which will become an NCAA Division II university as of Sept. 1, school official Jeremiah Wood announced Friday.
Fresno Pacific’s status was ratified by the D-II Membership Committee, closing a four-year transition process that began with the end of its alliance with the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
The Sunbirds had spent 47 years in the NAIA, winning 13 national titles, 11 of those from 2007-11, but school officials decided the athletics program “had become more in line with the NCAA Division II in terms of funding, participation opportunities, sport sponsorship, and commitment to community involvement and competitive excellence.”
Fresno Pacific left the NAIA in July 2011 and joined the Pacific West Conference, winning league championships in men’s soccer and men’s track and field but was ineligible to compete in the NCAA postseason until the transition was complete.
That will change this school year, with full NCAA privileges in effect for each of the university’s 14 active athletic programs.
Daemen College (New York), Lee University (Tennessee), Lubbock Christian University (Texas), Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Christian University and The University of Virginia’s College at Wise also completed the transition this year, swelling D-II membership to 307.
Fresno Pacific’s transition was extended by a year last summer because of self-reported violations involving the school’s tennis programs. The men’s and women’s teams are suspended from competition through 2015-16.