SFU scores early admission to NCAA

October 8, 2009

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It’s official. SFU will begin playing next fall in Division II of the U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)—a year earlier than planned—as the tenth full-fledged active member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).

SFU had initially planned to remain with Canadian Interuniversity Sport next season and move to the NCAA in 2011-12. But that changed recently when Canada West, the CIS conference SFU plays in, announced it had placed the university’s athletic program on probation for the 2009-10 season. The move won’t affect varsity teams this season, but it left SFU’s situation for next year in doubt.

"No one would dispute that the highest level of intercollegiate sport in North America is played at the NCAA, and that’s where we want to be," says SFU athletic director David Murphy.

"We’re a Division II fit in philosophy, with our emphasis on student-athlete balance, facilities and level of athletics competition. We’re looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the GNAC."

"This (NCAA membership) is a first for a Canadian university, and it reflects our long history of competing in U.S. varsity associations and conferences," says SFU President Michael Stevenson.

"It means a high level of competition and challenge for our athletes. As has always been the case, our primary concern is that our athletes succeed as students. The NCAA and GNAC have strong academic requirements and we will maintain the high academic standards that SFU has always demanded from all Clan teams."

SFU accepted the GNAC’s offer of full membership last month. The conference’s other full-member schools are 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.), Western Oregon University and Western Washington University. SFU has 19 Clan teams competing in the small-college National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in the U.S. and in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). Men’s wrestling competes in both the NAIA and CIS.


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