Walsh University and Malone University both announced on Monday that they had been granted NCAA membership and will begin a process to join as Division II institutions in 2013.
“Our acceptance to candidacy in NCAA II culminates more than a year of hard work to meet required criteria,” said Walsh president Richard Jusseaume.
“We consider this the next step forward is bringing our athletic programs to a level consistent with a Catholic university of distinction.”
Both schools will remain active members of the NAIA for two years while beginning the transition period.
Both schools are members of the American Mideast Conference.
“We are very excited about the prospect of obtaining full membership into the NCAA II,” said Walsh athletic director Dale Howard. “Walsh has a very proud history in the NAIA, winning national championships and numerous conference championships, and we are now poised to move our athletic program to the next level.”
Only seven schools in Ohio are active Division II members — Ashland, Central State, Findlay, Lake Erie, Tiffin, and Urbana.
Urbana was notified last week it was approved for full membership.
Ashland, Findlay, Lake Erie and Tiffin are members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), and Ohio Dominican, which is in the process of gaining Div. II status, was recently accepted by the GLIAC as a provisional member.
Those five schools, along with Urbana, Malone and Walsh, could ultimately form an eight-team conference.
Malone offers 20 sports, the most of any AMC school.
“Malone is deeply committed to providing student-athletes with the highest level of competition and support to enhance their educational experience,” said Malone athletic director Charlie Grimes. “We are very excited to take our ‘Christ’s Kingdom First’ mission and place it on the NCAA stage.
“This three-year transition will be challenging, but our athletic department is energized by the process, and our fine student-athletes are well worth the effort.”
Walsh offers 16 sports, eight for both men and women.
Both schools will enter what is called Candidacy Year 1 with the NCAA followed by Candidacy Year 2. Year three is known as a provisional year which requires the schools to drop their NAIA membership as they meet additional NCAA requirements.
Both schools could become full NCAA members in the 2013-14 academic year.