RIVERSIDE, Calif. (BP)-- California Baptist University has accepted an invitation to join the Pacific West Conference (PacWest) in NCAA Division II, beginning with the 2011-12 athletic seasons.
CBU will become the 10th school in the PacWest, joining three San Francisco Bay Area schools, Notre Dame de Namur University, Academy of Art University and Dominican University of California; Grand Canyon University in Arizona; Dixie State College in Utah; and four Hawaii schools, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Brigham Young University Hawaii, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hawai‘i Pacific University.
California Baptist, known as the Lancers, will depart from the Golden State Athletic Conference after the 2010-11 season. The GSAC, which consists of Christian colleges, is affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). GSAC members, apart from CBU, are Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, Concordia University, Fresno Pacific University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Vanguard University, Westmont College, Hope International University, San Diego Christian College and The Master’s College.
CBU received a unanimous invitation to enter the PacWest from the member institutions’ presidents, chancellors and chief executive officers in October, three months after the NCAA approved CBU’s application for D-II membership. The NCAA’s D-II division, encompassing 288 schools nationally, requires member institutions to offer at least 10 sports (at least five for men and five for women, or four for men and six for women), including two team sports for each gender.
PacWest commissioner Bob Hogue said the addition of CBU “moves the PacWest into Southern California for the first time and adds another great place to our growing list of universities as the most beautiful destination conference in the entire NCAA.”
CBU President Ronald L. Ellis said the PacWest invitation is “a tremendous affirmation of the high caliber, nationally competitive athletic programs at California Baptist University.”
“More importantly for CBU,” Ellis said, “it represents another significant step forward in our 15-plus years’ effort to put in place the building blocks to create a university committed to the Great Commission with a global impact.”
The Lancers, who joined the NAIA in 1969, have won 19 national championships since 1999.
PacWest members compete in men's and women's basketball, soccer and cross country; men’s baseball and golf; and women’s volleyball, softball and tennis. CBU, with a 4,715-member student body, also competes in swimming and diving, men’s and women’s water polo, track, wrestling, men’s volleyball, women’s golf and cheerleading.
Compiled by Mark A. Wyatt of California Baptist University and Art Toalston of Baptist Press.
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