On May 25, 2011, California Baptist University played in its final NAIA competition, leaving the organization as it transitioned to NCAA Division II.
To say the 10 conference championships and nine National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) titles won over the course of the next two years were unprecedented would be to sell the amazing run CBU had in the NAIA short. But also, to label that pair of seasons as anything short of remarkable would not do justice to the impressive way CBU burst onto the scene in PacWest and NCAA play.
CBU made application to the NCAA membership committee in 2010 and was accepted into the Division II membership process on July 12, 2010.
That next season the Lancers competed in their final year of NAIA and Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) play, securing membership in the PacWest and rejoining the NCCAA along the way.
With the completion of the 2010-11 season CBU was moved into year two of the three-year NCAA transition process in which it would play a full Division II schedule, but be ineligible for NCAA National Championship competition for the next two seasons.
That is where the NCCAA came in to play, providing the Lancers with postseason competition against other like-minded institutions on a national level during the transition period. CBU had been a member of the organization from 1972-1987 and announced it would be rejoining the NCCAA in March of 2011.
The Lancers’ announcement on conference affiliation came much earlier in the year, when CBU joined the PacWest in October of 2010, accepting a unanimous invitation from the conference. The PacWest was one of three leagues in Division II’s west region and at the time was comprised of schools from Arizona, Utah, Northern California and Hawaii. CBU was the first school in Southern California to join the conference before other former GSAC and NAIA members (Azusa Pacific, Point Loma and Fresno Pacific) followed suit and joined the league a year later.
The Lancers sprinted from the gates in that opening year of PacWest play, winning six conference titles and taking home the Commissioner’s Cup, an award given annually to the top athletic department in the conference. CBU was the first school in the PacWest not based in Hawaii to win the coveted title and was the first school to win six conference titles in a single season of competition.
The Lancers started off the year with four fall titles in men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s and women’s soccer. CBU also nabbed titles in both softball and baseball in the spring to close out the year and the Commissioner’s Cup win.
That same season, CBU also dominated play in the NCCAA, winning six titles on the national level. In fact, CBU made an unprecedented sweep of three tournaments in one weekend to help propel its championship run. With the men’s and women’s soccer tournaments and the women’s volleyball tournament all being held in the Kissimmee, Fla., in early December, CBU swept all three titles, putting the rest of the organization on notice en route to the school’s first ever NCCAA President’s Cup. That three-tournament sweep came after CBU had already won the men’s golf championship in the fall. The Lancers also won the baseball and softball titles in the spring to round out the six.
The 2012-13 season brought more of the same for the Lancers as CBU won four PacWest titles, falling just short of a second straight Commissioner’s Cup behind (now NCAA Division I) Grand Canyon.
Men’s cross country, women’s soccer and baseball all repeated as conference champions over the course of the 2012-13 season and women’s basketball snagged its first title since 1990 by rattling off 11 straight wins to close out the regular season in dramatic fashion. CBU had three other top 3 finishes in the 14-team conference that season, as well.
At the national level, CBU grabbed a trio of NCCAA titles, sweeping both soccer championships and again winning the baseball crown. The Lancers also won a wrestling title at the NCWA Wrestling Championships and took home the cheerleading title that had eluded them for the previous several years at the NCA Nationals in Daytona Beach, Fla.
In all, CBU tallied 21 conference and national championships in the two years of “preparation” that have led up to its likely full membership in Division II. A good start to what the school hopes will be continued success in the NCAA.CBU and the transition to the NCAA series timeline
June 14 – Introduction to the series
June 18 – Moment No. 9 - 1999 Men's Water Polo
June 19 – Moment No. 8 - 2010 Baseball
June 20 – Moment No. 7 – 1974 Men’s Tennis
June 21 – Moment No. 6 – 2011 Women’s Golf
June 24 – Moment No. 5 – 2009 Softball
June 26 – Moment No. 3 – 2005 Women’s Volleyball
June 27 – Moment No. 2 – 2007 Men’s Volleyball
July 8 – A look back at the last three years of transition to the NCAA