UMAC formally welcomed into NCAA as member-conference
The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference has been welcomed as an official member conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III, completing a five-year application process. The UMAC's membership becomes effective immediately for the 2008-09 academic year.
In addition to the league's entrance into the NCAA, four UMAC member-institutions were also granted active NCAA membership by the President's Council. Bethany Lutheran College, Martin Luther College and Northwestern College all successfully finished their four-year provisional term, while the University of Minnesota, Morris was approved in its reclassifying status, having previously been a part of Division II.
In addition, Presentation College was approved to move forward to its fourth and final year of provisional membership. Crown College successfully finished their four-year provisional term. Martin Luther has finished this process in the past.
"Our acceptance into the NCAA represents a significant achievement in the progression of the UMAC," said Dr. Alan Cureton, chair of the conference's Council of Presidents. "As presidents and chancellors of our member-institutions, we look forward to being actively engaged in the NCAA."
"We are grateful for the approval by the Presidents Council and look forward to being actively involved in the NCAA at the Division III level," said Corey Borchardt, Commissioner of the UMAC. "The UMAC fully endorses the NCAA Division III philosophy and our goal is to become a model conference at the Division III level. Becoming a member conference will have a positive impact on strengthening our institutional identities and positioning in Division III athletics."
"This is a huge milestone for our conference. When the commitment was made to go NCAA Division III seven years ago, it seemed like an insurmountable task," noted Jim Unke, past Commissioner and current of the Council of Athletic Directors. "It is a credit to the people and institutions that kept their focus on the goal during the transition, which has made us stronger as a conference. The student-athletes at all of our institutions will be the beneficiaries of this process."
Following a two-year waiting period, the UMAC will be awarded an automatic berth into NCAA post-season play for those sports that have the qualifying number of institutions represented.