MONTECITO, Calif. - Westmont College has been notified by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that it has been accepted into the multi-year membership process for Division II. Westmont submitted its application last February after an extensive period of research and consideration. Given the changing landscape of college athletics, Westmont believes the move to Division II will provide better opportunities and experiences for its collegiate athletes in the future.
"It is no secret that over the years, Westmont has periodically reviewed whether or not its associations with the NAIA and Golden State Athletic Conference are in the best interest of our student-athletes and the college as a whole," said Dave Odell, Westmont's executive director of athletics. "While in the past we have concluded that we were properly situated, as we look to the current state of college athletics and anticipate future developments, we are convinced that this decision puts us in the best position to continue our mission of cultivating maturity of mind, body and spirit through the rigorous pursuit of athletic excellence, integrated learning and Christ-centered leadership."
"I am incredibly thankful for the tireless effort of our athletics staff, coaches and Westmont college administrators who have invested time and resources to bring us to this point in our history," said Robert Ruiz, director of athletics. "It is an honor to be accepted into the membership process and we believe that we have prepared appropriately to lead our athletic programs successfully into the NCAA. I look forward to the challenges and growth opportunities that await our student-athletes, coaches and administrators in the journey ahead."
Like the NAIA, Division II is a scholarship-granting association. Current and future Westmont student athletes will be eligible for athletic financial aid.
The move to Division II will reunite Westmont with former opponents, renewing old rivalries. The Pacific West Conference previously voted to extend membership to Westmont, contingent on its acceptance into the NCAA Division II membership process. The PacWest currently consists of 11 members including former GSAC members Azusa Pacific, Biola, Concordia, Fresno Pacific and Point Loma Nazarene. The other members are Academy of Art, Dominican, and Holy Names from the Bay Area and three schools from Hawaii - Chaminade, Hawai'i Hilo and Hawai'i Pacific.
"We consider it a great honor to be considered for membership in the NCAA and are hopeful as we begin the process," expressed Westmont President Gayle Beebe. "Athletic competition is one of the great proving grounds of American life. At Westmont, we aspire to prepare our students for leading and serving in every sphere of society and being able to compete at the highest level possible will be both a challenge and an opportunity for growth, development and faith formation in our student athletes.
"I'm especially grateful for the work of Dave Odell and the entire group of coaches he's assembled as they work together to guide our athletic endeavors and pursue the next horizon of competition as a further extension of the work and mission of Westmont as it enters its 85th year."
Westmont will continue to be a full member of the NAIA and Golden State Athletic Conference for the 2022-23 season. During the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons, Westmont will play a PacWest regular season schedule and will be eligible to play in PacWest postseason championships. As a part of the three-year transition process, however, the Warriors will not be eligible to participate in Division II national postseason competition. Instead, Westmont anticipates competing in postseason play as part of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).
Assuming Westmont has met all the requirements for membership, the Warriors will become full members of NCAA Division II in the 2025-26 season and be eligible for national postseason events.
(article courtesy of Westmont Athletics).