A Georgia Baptist Institution
July 12, 2011 - Shorter University’s application for admission into the NCAA Division II membership process has been accepted, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced on Tuesday.
University President Dr. Donald Dowless and Director of Athletics Bill Peterson learned of Shorter’s approval in a conference call with the NCAA on Tuesday morning, ending a process that began in February with a feasibility study concerning potential NCAA Division II membership.
“We are excited that Shorter University will be moving along in the membership process at the NCAA Division II level,” said Dr. Dowless, who became the university’s 19th president on June 1. “The efforts of our athletic staff and the support of our faculty, staff and students has been instrumental in the process and we look forward to competing in the Gulf South Conference.
“Also, our fan support has been phenomenal,” Dr. Dowless added. “We have a strong commitment to spiritual, academic and athletic success, and we move forward with great anticipation of good days ahead.”
“This is a wonderful day for Shorter University and for our athletic program,” said Peterson, who just completed his fourth year as Shorter’s Director of Athletics. “We are truly blessed and so appreciative of the support we have received from both our administration and our Board of Trustees. In particular, I would like to thank our coaches and our student-athletes. Their efforts made this tremendous possibility a reality. They are just a great group.”
Shorter immediately begins the three-year transition process as a candidate member for the NCAA during the 2011-2012 season, during which it will remain an active affiliate of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Shorter has been affiliated with the NAIA since the 1950s.
Shorter also remains eligible for regular season and post-season tournament championships in both the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) and Mid-South Conference (MSC) during the 2011-2012 athletic campaigns, and also remains eligible to compete in NAIA national tournaments.
“We are very proud of our long-term relationship with the NAIA, the SSAC and the Mid-South, and we look forward to another great year in 2011-2012,” Peterson said. “We have been blessed with many wonderful friendships, in particular NAIA CEO Jim Carr and championship director Dennis Green along with our two commissioners, Dr. Kurt Patberg of the SSAC and Steve Baker of the Mid-South.”
The university will enter the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years as an NCAA “provisional status” member while moving towards membership in the Gulf South Conference.
During this two-year provisional status period, Shorter will compete against full Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II schedules and be required to operate under NCAA Division II regulations, but will be ineligible to compete in post-season play. Shorter’s athletic schedules will include Gulf South Conference members such as the University of Alabama-Huntsville, University of North Alabama, University of West Alabama, Delta State University, Valdosta State University, University of West Georgia and the University of West Florida, among others.
The Gulf South Conference unanimously endorsed Shorter’s application for NCAA Division II membership.
“The Gulf South Conference is one of the premier conferences in NCAA Division II and we are very proud that they endorsed us for NCAA Division II membership,” said Peterson. “We look forward to beginning competition within the GSC in 2012-13 and beginning competitive rivalries with folks such as Valdosta State, West Georgia, North Alabama, the University of Alabama-Huntsville and all of the other great schools in that conference.”
Dr. Dowless (center), along with Dr. Nelson Price, chairman of the board of trustees (left), and Shorter Athletic Director Bill Peterson (right), are shown proudly holding commemorative T-shirts printed for the special announcement.
Shorter first explored the prospect of applying for NCAA Division II membership after being approached by representatives of the Gulf South Conference last year. The university contracted with Collegiate Consulting of Atlanta to conduct a study analyzing the potential impact of such a move on the institution. Once the feasibility study was complete and a full endorsement from the Gulf South Conference secured, Shorter announced in May its plans to apply for NCAA Division II membership.
Shorter announced a restructuring of its athletic department in order to comply with NCAA regulations, naming Dr. Richard Cowan as its Director of Compliance, Cristy Pak as Compliance Coordinator and Rachel Rogers as Senior Woman Administrator. Cowan moves into NCAA compliance after serving for over 30 years as Shorter’s Faculty Athletics Representative and Department Chair of the School of Mathematics. Pak assumes the role of Compliance Coordinator after working the past three years as a graduate assistant within the athletic department while Rogers, in addition to her duties as Senior Woman Administrator, will continue on as Shorter’s Director of Athletic Development.
Shorter has served as host of the NAIA Football National Championship since 2008 and Peterson says that the university is committed to continuing that relationship regardless of the affiliation of its athletic programs.
“The NAIA has given Rome a contract to host the Football National Championship through 2015 and we look forward to the continuation of that agreement,” Peterson said.
Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christian university committed to excellence in education. Since 2003, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Shorter among the South’s best baccalaureate colleges, and The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its lists of best value and best Southeastern colleges. The university offers traditional bachelor’s degree programs in 48 major areas as well as undergraduate degree programs for working adults, master’s programs, and online courses and degrees. For more information, visit www.shorter.edu.
| SHORTER UNIVERSITY • 315 Shorter Avenue • Rome, Georgia 30165 • Phone: 800-868-6980 • www.shorter.edu
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