Lindenwood University – Belleville has been accepted to join the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), following a three-year affiliation with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). League officials made the announcement Sunday at the NAIA National Convention in Newport Beach, California. Lindenwood University - Belleville will compete as a full NAIA member effective August 1, 2012.
“We are honored to have been selected to join the prestigious colleges that are a part of the NAIA,” said Lindenwood – Belleville’s Vice President, Jerry Bladdick. “We are pleased to be able to carry on the Lindenwood tradition that started 40 years ago with the NAIA.”
With the addition of football next year, LU – Belleville’s roster grows to 23 sports in just three years of existence. This past fall, the Lynx brought home the first two national titles in program history, with men’s golf and men’s soccer winning the USCAA National Championship. Rapid growth and proven success led to the decision to take the Lynx’ competition to the next level.
“This is a great day in the history of Lindenwood University - Belleville athletics,” said Director of Athletics, Scott Spinner. “We are committed to offering the best possible athletic experience to our students and gaining membership to the NAIA signifies that commitment.”
Along with Lindenwood – Belleville, three other institutions were approved for membership in to the NAIA. Those institutions are: Georgia Gwinnett College, Indiana University Kokomo and St. Andrews University (N.C.). These four institutions were among the first set of institutions subjected to the NAIA’s new, more rigorous, annual membership process.
“We are pleased to accept these quality institutions as NAIA members,” said Ted Brown, chair of the NAIA Council of Presidents and President of Martin Methodist College (Tenn.). “This was the first year of a new process put in place to strengthen the review of membership applications, and it has worked well. We are taking a hard look at schools to make sure they are a good fit with the NAIA, so it’s more about a good fit than pure numbers.”
The NAIA Membership Committee reviewed each institution’s application and determined which institutions would move to the next stage of the process. Those institutions then participated in a campus visit by a Membership Evaluation Team. The results of those campus visits were reported to the Membership Committee, which then decided whether to recommend institutions to the Council of Presidents for final approval.
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