It’s official – Lake Erie College earns active NCAA Division II Membership
Lake Erie College has been formally accepted as an active NCAA Division II member effective Sept. 1, 2009. Lake Erie College administrators received news today in a conference call with the NCAA membership staff.
The active membership approval means all athletics teams and student-athletes are eligible to compete in NCAA championship events beginning with the upcoming 2009-10 season. The following season, Lake Erie will compete as an active member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The formal acceptance by the NCAA makes Lake Erie College the only Division II institution in Northeast Ohio and the greater Cleveland area.
Additionally, the 20 Storm teams and its student-athletes have the opportunity to be listed in official NCAA DII statistics. Individuals will be eligible to be considered for recognition on several national athletic and academic All-American teams and post-season/graduate awards.
“This is a great day for Lake Erie College,” said President Michael T. Victor. “We are excited about the additional opportunities that will be provided to our students, offering them a chance for a more complete college experience.”
“Lake Erie College continually strives to achieve a balance between academic excellence and athletic success. This accomplishment contributes to our goals of student-athlete development, strong academic progression, greater recruiting appeal and increased retention,” added Victor.
The Lake Erie College administration believes the move to NCAA Division II will offer significant benefits to its student-athletes and enrollment initiatives. Division II has rigorous eligibility guidelines and promotes greater faculty involvement at its member schools. Participating at the Division II level has the potential to increase Lake Erie College’s visibility on both a regional and national scale with national television networks such as CBS and ESPN covering Division II men's and women's national championships and playoffs.
Director of Athletics Griz Zimmermann is grateful to the campus community for making a strong commitment to this process and effectively collaborating to ensure all NCAA guidelines and regulations were followed. “This campus effort paved the way for a smooth and successful transition. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the move played out.”
“Student-athletes will have greater opportunities for personal development, as well as academic and athletics honors competing at the national level,” said Zimmermann.
The NCAA also offers Division II training and programming in such areas as compliance, rules education, professional development and student-athlete leadership, which typically translates into graduation rates that are higher than that of other schools. According to the NCAA, Division II student-athletes consistently graduate at a higher rate than the overall student body at Division II schools. This past year, Division II student-athletes on average graduated at a nine percent higher rate than the total student population at Division II schools.
Furthermore, a member of Division II believes in a set of common features, which assist in defining the division. Such features include exceptional teacher-to-student ratios that provide student-athletes with a quality education, a unique model of staffing in which coaches provide additional services such as teaching and mentoring, and the development of community partnerships and student-athlete participation in community engagement activities.
The move to NCAA membership follows a year of provisional membership and two years of an exploratory phase that is required of all institutions considering NCAA Division II membership. Prior to being accepted as a full-fledged Division II member, the Storm competed in the Division III Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference.
Through a shared effort, Division II seeks to be a membership destination within the NCAA – a destination where intercollegiate athletics supports the mission of higher education by striking a balance among athletics competition, academic excellence and social growth. Student-athletes who commit to these core values are prepared to thrive in their lives and careers upon graduation.