Brevard College President Dr. David C. Joyce joined with Athletic Director Juan Mascaro on Wednesday afternoon to announce the College’s intention to reclassify as an NCAA Division III institution.
“After closely examining our athletics program, the College and Board of Trustees determined that Division III is more directly in alignment with our mission and is the right fit for an institution of our size,” Joyce said.
In a unanimous vote on Friday, May 15, the Brevard College Board of Trustees approved a motion to seek permission from the NCAA to reclassify its intercollegiate athletics program from Division II to non-scholarship Division III.
“I am pleased with the board’s decision,” said Mascaro. “This is a great opportunity to improve the student-athlete experience and better fulfill the College’s mission.”
The Tornados will continue to compete as members of the South Atlantic Conference and NCAA Division II for the next two academic years, one of which will be classified as Brevard’s exploratory year. The provisional Division III membership process is expected to begin with the 2017-2018 academic year and typically lasts for four years as the school transitions into full membership at the Division III level.
Once the transition is complete, the College plans to pursue membership with the USA South athletic conference. Larry Czarda, president of Greensboro College – a participating member in the USA South conference – said in a statement that the conference acknowledges the College’s commitment to reclassify to Division III.
“While there is a deliberate process required of due diligence by both Brevard College and the USA South Athletic Conference to determine if there is mutual benefit, the USA South would welcome the opportunity to commit to that process should Brevard College express interest in becoming a member of the USA South athletic conference,” Czarda said.
The most notable hallmark of Division III institutions is the absence of athletic scholarships, which allows schools to primarily emphasize their academic offerings. Student-athletes have access to identical academic and need-based institutional financial aid, as well as grant and loan options, as students who do not participate in athletics. Division III does not allow student-athletes to play and practice year-round, which serves as another key distinction from other NCAA divisions and provides access to educational opportunities otherwise unavailable to student-athletes with demanding athletic schedules.
“The move to Division III will foster a strong student experience for athletes and non-athletes, while continuing to allow our students to compete in athletics,” said Davis Whitfield-Cargile, president of the College’s Alumni Association. “I could not be happier or more excited about this decision and opportunity for Brevard, and I applaud the administration for studying and proposing this transition, and the Board of Trustees for approving the transition. It’s an excellent decision that fits Brevard’s identity very well. It’s an exciting time for Brevard College.”
Brevard College takes pride in its emphasis on experiential liberal arts education that strives to inspire students to artistic, intellectual, and social action and encourages personal growth. The Division III model uniquely aligns with the College’s experiential mission by affording student-athletes opportunities to participate in intensive learning opportunities, such as the College’s Voice of the Rivers program that takes students on a three-week source-to-sea river expedition.
The 2015-2016 season will mark Brevard’s eighth as an NCAA Division II institution after transitioning from the NAIA ranks, attaining full NCAA Division II membership prior to the 2008-2009 academic year. Prior to its conversion to a four-year institution during the 1990s, Brevard College competed as a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, amassing nine total national championships in men’s marathon (1982), men’s cross country (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990), and women’s soccer (1996, 1997).