RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- California Baptist University has accepted a unanimous invitation to join The Pacific West Conference (PacWest), the latest step toward membership in the NCAA Division II, CBU officials announced Oct. 15 in a joint release with the PacWest. The announcement comes just three months after the NCAA approved CBU's application for D-II membership.
PacWest Commissioner Bob Hogue informed CBU of the vote by presidents, chancellors and chief executive officers of conference institutions in a letter dated October 12. Hogue described CBU as "an excellent fit for the diverse student-athletes and athletic programs" in the conference that includes schools in California, Arizona, Utah, and Hawaii. He said the addition of CBU as the tenth PacWest institution is "a major milestone" for the NCAA D-II conference.
"We are very excited to have the Lancers in the conference," the commissioner added. "The addition of CBU also moves 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."
Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU President, said the university has accepted the invitation to begin PacWest conference play with the 2011-2012 athletic seasons in at least 10 conference sports.
"This unanimous invitation from the Pacific West Conference is a tremendous affirmation of the high caliber, nationally competitive athletic programs at California Baptist University," Ellis stated. "More importantly for CBU, 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 invitation to join The Pacific West Conference comes with the understanding that CBU will continue playing its current National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) schedule throughout the 2010-2011 season. Since joining the NAIA in 1969, the Lancers have won 19 national championships. All of CBU's NAIA national titles have been earned since 1999 and three are in sports also sponsored by PacWest; one in softball and two in women's volleyball.
CBU also has been a member of the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) since 1987, the second year of the GSAC's existence. During its 25-year relationship with one of the strongest conferences in the NAIA, CBU teams won 26 GSAC titles -- most recently capturing 2010 conference banners for baseball and an unprecedented seventh straight title in softball.
Dr. Micah Parker, CBU Director of Athletics, responded enthusiastically to the PacWest invitation.
"Our coaches and staff are pleased to know
that we have a home for Division II competition, and we feel like the PacWest is
a good fit for our institution in many ways," Parker said. "I've felt welcomed
and encouraged by the other athletic directors in the PacWest as we have gone
through this transition process. We are confident we can continue to
honor Christ through excellence in athletics in our new conference home just
like we did for 25 years in the GSAC."
The Lancers will play a PacWest schedule beginning in 2011-12 and be immediately eligible for conference championships and awards.