ORANGE, Calif. – After a unanimous vote from the SCIAC President's Council, Chapman University has accepted an invitation to join the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), beginning with the 2011-12 academic year. Chapman will become the ninth member of the conference, following an eight-month application process that culminated in the unanimous vote on May 6.
"We accept with a great deal of pride this invitation to join SCIAC – we believe that Chapman can be highly competitive in the conference, and we greatly look forward to membership in this exemplary athletic association," said James L. Doti, president of Chapman University. "Twenty years ago, Chapman made the decision to move from NCAA Division II to Division III. That transition involved three primary goals: to start a college football program, add more women's sports and join the SCIAC. Today that mission is complete."
The addition of Chapman to the SCIAC membership will be effective July 1, 2011 although Chapman will not be fully integrated into conference scheduling for 1 to 2 years. The Panthers will become eligible to compete for conference championships following a 2- to 3-year grace period, according to the SCIAC.
"This is an historic day in the life of our intercollegiate athletics program at Chapman," said David Currey, Chapman's director of athletics. "We're joining a conference that boasts some of the top-ranked academic institutions in the country. This is an opportunity that will benefit our university and student athletes for years to come."
Upon joining the conference, Chapman will have up to three years to add intercollegiate programs in men's track and field, men's swimming and diving, and women's lacrosse. Chapman will also be expected to add women's golf by the 2015-16 academic year. Of these programs, Chapman already offers men's swimming and diving and women's lacrosse as club sports. That would bring Chapman athletics to a total of 22 intercollegiate sports programs. Currently, Chapman offers 18 intercollegiate athletics programs (eight men, 10 women).
"The outstanding academic, athletic, and leadership qualities at Chapman provide an excellent fit with the current membership and the league's long tradition of excellence in academics and athletics," said SCIAC Executive Director Lorin Huffman.
Chapman University has been an independent member of NCAA Division III since 1994. Upon transitioning from Division II to Division III, Chapman immediately aligned itself with its neighboring members in the SCIAC; partnering in intercollegiate scheduling, abiding by conference bylaws and sharing in the same small, private-school Division III student athlete philosophies.
Chapman has won two Division III national championships (softball in 1995 and baseball in 2003) and has competed in 77 NCAA Division III postseason championships.
The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was established in 1915. The league is currently comprised of eight private colleges and universities in Southern California: California Institute of Technology, California Lutheran University, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, University of La Verne, Occidental College, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, University of Redlands, and Whittier College.
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