What do Vikings, Wildcats, Saints, Falcons, Crusaders, Nanooks, and Yellow Jackets have in common? If everything goes according to plan, beginning in 2015, they will all become Concordia’s newest athletic rivals as the Cavaliers join the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).
Under the leadership of Athletic Director, Matt English, and the entire Concordia University-Portland athletic department, the move from National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to NCAA Division II is well underway. Concordia officially accepted an invitation to become the 11th full-time member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference – one of the top NCAA Division II conferences in the country. GNAC includes teams from five states and one Canadian province.
Next up, the Cavaliers will officially apply for NCAA Division II membership sometime before the February 1, 2014 deadline. After that, a final decision is expected to be announced by the NCAA Division II Membership Committee in the summer of 2014. If accepted into the NCAA membership process, the Cavaliers would begin competing as a GNAC member in the fall of 2015 and be eligible for NCAA postseason play beginning in the fall of 2017.
Currently a member of the NAIA’s Cascade Collegiate Conference, Concordia sponsors 15 of the GNAC’s 16 officially recognized sports. The only sport in which it doesn’t participate is football. Concordia will compete in the GNAC in men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s golf, softball, and baseball.
Upon admittance to the NCAA, Concordia will join the University of Alaska Anchorage, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Simon Fraser University (British Columbia, Canada), Central Washington University, Montana State University Billings, Northwest Nazarene University (Idaho), Saint Martin’s University (Washington), Seattle Pacific University (Washington), Western Oregon University and Western Washington University as full-time members of the GNAC.
“Concordia athletics is pleased to have this opportunity to join one of the best conferences in all of NCAA Division II,” says Concordia Athletic Director Matt English. “Additionally, we believe our mission will align well with the Life In the Balance platform offered in Division II that stresses the balance of athletics, academics, and community engagement to create a rich experience for our student-athletes.”