The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 12, 2013

Northwestern one step closer to full NCAA membership

Enid News and Eagle

ALVA — Northwestern Oklahoma State University has successfully completed Candidacy Year One in the National Collegiate Athletic (NCAA) Division II membership process and will now move on to Candidacy Year Two, the Alva-based school announced Friday.

Northwestern President Dr. Janet Cunningham and Director of Athletics Andy Carter were notified of the decision Friday afternoon by the NCAA. The school now is one-third of the way through its transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and remains on track for full NCAA membership as soon as the fall of 2015.

“We are elated at the news. Getting the go-ahead for step two further validates the efforts of our faculty, staff and the Alva community over the past year,” Cunningham said. “The NCAA transition process is by no means an easy one, but we continue to rise to the challenge.”

NCAA membership is granted to new schools through a three step process, which includes at least two years of trial candidacy and a third year as a provisional. Schools must complete an annual evaluation before being promoted to the next step. There is no guarantee of a move from one step to the next.

“The path to NCAA membership is measured in years, but it’s truly a day-by-day process. Every day, we look for ways to improve,” Carter said. “Still, moments like this are a great opportunity to step back and celebrate how far we’ve come.”

As a second-year provisional member, Northwestern now is eligible for Great American Conference regular season titles in all sports.

NCAA Year One and Year Two candidates and provisionals are not eligible for postseason play.

“This is very expected news,” said GAC Commissioner Will Prewitt. “Northwestern has done an excellent job of moving its athletic programs towards full compliance with NCAA Division II rules.  We’re happy to have them in the GAC and are glad to countdown one more milestone on the road towards full Division II membership.”

Northwestern opens the 2013 football season Sept. 5 at home against Arkansas Tech. The Rangers finished 4-7 last season.