There is only one year left between Southern Nazarene University and its full membership in NCAA Division II.
The school announced that it is advancing to the provisional year of the NCAA Division II membership process on July 12, and upon successful completion will be eligible for NCAA postseason play in the 2014-15 season.
Thirteen years after its inception, the football team will play its first full conference schedule and compete against 10 conference opponents and a nonconference foe.
“We are transitioning from the (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) to NCAA Division II,” Director of Athletics Bobby Martin said. “We are in the membership process; we have just moved into the provisional year, which if we successfully complete that, we would become active members the following year.”
The Crimson Storm just completed its second year of candidacy and its first year of playing in the Great American Conference.
In 2010, the school announced its intent to transition out of the NAIA and into the NCAA. In its first year (2011-12) of candidacy, Southern Nazarene competed in the NAIA. In its second year, the Crimson Storm was banned from both the NAIA and NCAA postseasons.
“We've been more successful than we probably we would have guessed early in the years,” Martin said. “It'll be interesting to see how successful we'll become in NCAA Division II.”
Football was started at SNU as a way to increase male enrollment and to add another fall sport at the school, Martin said. The football program was started in 2000, and the team didn't win its first home opener until 2007.
“It was such new experience for all of us, that we really didn't know what to expect at first,” Martin said about starting the program. “We believed strongly that we were going in the right direction, and therefore it would be fine for the institution. It's been successful. It's been a positive experience for Southern Nazarene University.”