Written by Chris Pendleton
BUENA VISTA, Va.—The National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Membership Committee has announced that it has approved Southern Virginia University’s NCAA Division III exploratory application.
Southern Virginia will officially begin the NCAA Division III exploratory process on Sept. 1, 2011, and will be considered a Division III exploratory institution for the 2011-12 academic year.
“Division III is the perfect fit for an institution, such as Southern Virginia, that focuses on the complete scholar-athlete experience,” said Rick Winters, who became the university’s athletic director earlier this month. “With nearly 450 schools, D-III is a competitive athletic organization, but there remains a focus on academics and successful student preparation for careers and graduate programs.”
Winters explained that Southern Virginia’s Division III exploratory year is the first step in a process that the university hopes will lead to provisional and eventually full-fledged D-III membership. If Southern Virginia does gain full membership in the coming years, it would be the only D-III university with an honor code based on the standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Knights currently compete in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, an organization consisting of 72 member schools—mostly small, faith-based institutions similar to Southern Virginia. Since joining the USCAA in 1997, the Knights have captured more than 30 national championships.
In the same time, nearly 400 Southern Virginia scholar-athletes have earned all-american or academic all-american honors. During the 2010-11 academic year, Southern Virginia led all USCAA-member schools with 32 academic all-american selections.
Southern Virginia’s current intercollegiate teams include men’s baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and wrestling and women’s basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.