NCAA Approves Provisional DIII Membership for BJU

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced the approval of Bob Jones University as a provisional member in Division III. The NCAA Division III Membership Committee approved BJU’s application and the Bruins athletics department will enter the first year of provisional status beginning September 1.

“This is a great day for Bob Jones University,” Bruins Director of Athletics Dr. Neal Ring said. “I’d like to thank President Pettit and all of our staff for their hard work on this journey. We’re very thankful to the NCAA for the opportunity to join Division III and we’re excited for the next steps in the membership process.”

The Bruins begin a three-year evaluation and review period during which they will not be eligible to compete in any DIII postseason tournaments. BJU will maintain its affiliation with the National Christian College Athletic Association while it pursues joining a Division III conference.

The Bruins feature 12 varsity programs and over 175 student-athletes.

In 2018, Ring formed a committee comprised of members of the athletics department as well as BJU faculty and staff to explore dual affiliation with the NCCAA and NCAA or NAIA. After completing a thorough review, which included interviewing campus leaders at over 50 institutions across the country, the committee unanimously recommended BJU pursue NCAA DIII affiliation. The recommendation was accepted by BJU President Steve Pettit before being unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to participate in the NCAA,” Pettit said. “I appreciate the hard work of our athletic staff and student-athletes and look forward to seeing them compete in the NCAA to further the mission of Bob Jones University.”

During the exploratory process, the Bruins added the baseball program to fulfill the NCAA DIII team sport requirement. The baseball team will play its inaugural season of competition in the spring of 2021. BJU had planned to add women’s lacrosse to its team sports in soccer, basketball and volleyball. But after clarification by the NCAA, the requirement was no longer needed and BJU suspended pursuit of a lacrosse program.

Last fall, individuals from the NCAA DIII Membership Committee visited with BJU coaches, staff and student-athletes as well as various departments on campus. In January, the athletics department submitted its application for membership.

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