PNW Pioneer

PNW zeros in on full NCAA membership

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PNW is now two-thirds of the way to achieving full NCAA DII membership after advancing to the third and final provisional year on July 13.

Rick Costello, athletic director, said the recent advancement is proof that effort from student athletes, coaches, faculty, staff and administrators is paying off.

“The NCAA feels that we are making outstanding progress, which to me, is exciting and shows the overall effort and importance that the university has put into it,” Costello said.

The NCAA provisional membership process consists of three provisional years, with each year holding different requirements. As universities meet the requirements, they advance further toward full membership. The NCAA awards full membership only after provisional members have passed all three provisional periods.

PNW began the NCAA provisional membership process in September 2016, following the overturning of an initial rejection by the NCAA, and has since gone on to pass both the NCAA year-one provisional period in July of 2017 and now, the year-two provisional period. Entering the third provisional year, PNW is now one year away from having the ability to compete in the NCAA DII postseason — an important recruiting topic, Costello said.

“That’s huge when you are out there recruiting athletes,” Costello said. “They want to have the opportunity to compete in the postseason.”

Differing from the year-one provisional year requirements — which required the creation of an Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, multiple athletic department positions and detailed internal documentation — the year-two requirements were largely focused on the full-meeting of NCAA compliance standards and regulations, Costello said.

Tom Albano, associate athletic director for compliance, said that the year-two provisional period was the most rigorous year of the membership process due to the expectation of operating as a fully-compliant NCAA DII institution. Albano noted how the NCAA visited PNW in February of this year to audit all compliance measures.

“Although the process is rigorous, it makes us create best practices and we’re certainly better off because of them,” Albano said. 

After spending 20 seasons competing in the NAIA, PNW athletics competed for the first time this year in an NCAA DII conference — the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. As a provisional member, PNW was able to compete in the GLIAC postseason but could not compete in the NCAA DII postseason.

PNW’s first year competing in the GLIAC was marked by a juxtaposition of individual accomplishments and subpar team performances, with every team but women’s softball falling below the .500 win percentage mark.

“It was a tough year as far as competition,” Costello said. “But what was impressive in my mind was the teamwork and camaraderie.”

Costello said that although PNW still has work to do in order to meet the final third-year requirements he is looking forward to the upcoming opportunity of being a full NCAA member.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we will be a full-fledged member a year from now,” Costello said.  

The third and final provisional year will require PNW to continue its full compliance with all NCAA rules and regulations and will entail a final campus visit from the NCAA, according to Albano. If completed, PNW will be a full NCAA DII member in July 2019.

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