After a three-year application process, Cal State East Bay receives acceptance as an active member of NCAA Division II, effective Sept. 1.
Cal State East Bay has been accepted as a full active member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II, effective Sept. 1, Director of Athletics Debby De Angelis announced today (July 8). The news came during a morning conference call with the NCAA membership staff, following a three-year application process.
“I am delighted to hear that we have been notified of our attainment of full membership status as a member of NCAA Division II,” Cal State East Bay Interim President Dr. Leroy Morishita said. “Importantly, this notification provides the necessary credentials for Cal State East Bay to participate as a full member within the California Collegiate Athletic Association and as such, provides the opportunity for our student-athletes to now participate in postseason championship play.”
Cal State East Bay began the Division II membership process during the 2008-09 season and has competed as a provisional member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) for the past two seasons. Active member status will allow the Pioneer teams to compete for conference and NCAA championships after being ineligible for postseason play for the past two seasons. CSUEB will have a chance to face some of the best teams in Division II on a regular basis in the CCAA, which has claimed at least one NCAA team title each of the last four years, including a pair this spring in softball and men's golf.
“This is a move that was started by the students and will benefit every current and future Pioneer student athlete,” De Angelis said. “We are very excited to return to Division II and have a conference the caliber of the CCAA with our sister state universities for our student athletes to compete.”
The move to Division II began with a request to then-President Mohammad Qayoumi from Cal State East Bay's Associated Students, Inc. board to explore the concept in 2007. Following an examination by administrators, students and staff, as well as an outside consultant and former NCAA president, Cal State East Bay announced its plans to apply for membership in NCAA Division II and the CCAA in May 2008. The decision was also influenced by the students' approval of an activities fee increase to help fund the move to Division II.
The application and exploratory membership period required a number of conditions be met for the Pioneers to gain active member status. These conditions included sponsoring a minimum number of teams, full compliance with NCAA Division II rules and an increase in financial aid funding. Over the last three years, the athletic department has increased in size from three to 10 full-time staff and moved from a non-scholarship program to one which exceeds the minimum of $250,000 in athletic financial aid, all while coming into compliance with Division II rules for scheduling, recruiting, scholarships and eligibility under the guidance of Senior Associate Athletic Director Sara Judd. The process also included annual reports documenting every aspect of the athletic department, campus visits from NCAA membership committee members and working to follow the resulting recommendations of the committee.
“I would like to particularly thank Sara Judd and her staff for the extraordinary work they did to educate our staff and bring us into full Division II compliance and completing the volumes of supporting documentation required by the NCAA,” De Angelis said.
The Pioneers will join the 281 other active member institutions of Division II, which prides itself on six main attributes – learning, service, passion, sportsmanship, resourcefulness and balance. In line with those attributes, Division II programs are focused on two key initiatives: gameday environment and community engagement which work to create a positive game experience for student-athletes, fans, coaches and staff and to bring the public onto campus to experience college athletics and allow student-athletes to have a positive impact on their community.
Pioneer student-athletes will also have the opportunity to work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the chosen charity of the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Over the past seven years of partnership, Division II SAAC has raised over $1 million for Make-A-Wish. Cal State East Bay's SAAC has already forged a relationship with Make-A-Wish, raising more than $2000 for the organization in each of the last two seasons.
In addition to gaining the ability to offer athletic scholarships and compete against some of the best programs in Division II, Cal State East Bay's active membership in Division II will allow it to enroll in the National Letter of Intent program, which works to protect student-athletes and recruits, and give student-athletes the opportunity to apply for postgraduate scholarships and to participate in enrichment and career development programs through the NCAA. Full active status also gives CSUEB the ability to vote at the annual NCAA Convention and access to enhancement funds for improvements within the athletic department.
Cal State East Bay had previously been a dual member of NCAA Division III and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for 11 years, with 10 sports competing in the NCAA as independents and five in the NAIA's California Pacific Conference. The Pioneers were originally a member of NCAA Division II from 1961-98, claiming two NCAA national championships during that span.