SFU approved to join NCAA Div. II

The outcome was never really in doubt, but now it's official: Simon Fraser University has become the first Canadian school to join the NCAA. From the press release...

In a historic return to its athletic roots, Simon Fraser University was approved today as the first non-U.S. member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the world’s largest college sports organization.

Beginning with the 2011-12 season, after a two-year transition period, all of SFU’s Clan varsity teams will compete in the NCAA’s Division II in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).

The Division II membership committee approved SFU’s application at its meeting today (Friday, July 10) at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis IN.

"This is a first for a Canadian university, and it reflects SFU's long history of competing in U.S. varsity associations and conferences,” said SFU President Michael Stevenson.

“It means a high level of competition and challenge for our athletes. As has always been the case, our primary concern is that our athletes succeed as students. The NCAA has strong academic requirements and we will maintain the high academic standards that SFU has always demanded from all Clan teams.”

SFU now has 19 Clan teams competing in the small-college National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in the U.S. and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). One, men’s wrestling, now competes in both NAIA and CIS.

GNAC includes nine full-member schools in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, and four football-only members in Washington, California, Utah and Oregon.

Aside from football, SFU is planning on moving all of its teams to the NCAA for the 2010-2011 year. In the upcoming year though, all SFU teams are set to play in the CIS as though nothing has happened—at the CIS AGM in May, a motion was defeated that would have put SFU on probation immediately after applying for formal membership.

Simon Fraser University wins NCAA entry as first non-U.S. member (Lyndon Little, Vancouver Sun)
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  1. Hmmm...can UBC be far behind?
    It will be interesting to see how SFU's entry in Div II will impact other CIS teams in terms of recruiting.
    I remember SFU's men's basketball team at the time it left NAIA to join the CIS was loaded with players recruited from outside of BC on scholarship. Guys like Steve Maga, Rob Smart, Brian Leonard and Andy Kwiatkowski. All of those players wound up on CIS rosters and were big stars on their respective teams.
    With SFU being now able to award scholarships, it should once again give them an advantage over other Canadian schools in attracting talent.

  2. It's ridiculous for SFU to act like an American satellite university in Canada.

  3. @Anon. — That's a good point. There is an argument that there might be more good players to go around than there were in the 1990s.

  4. In their NAIA days the SFU's mens bball team was ranked in the NAIA top ten once and had a losing record vs UBC and UVic. Their Football team was 500 vs UBC in the Shrum bowl and were well under 500. This was with both of their teams offering some full schollies.

    Their problem was and will be high academic standards and the belief now among Canadian kids that they all are Div I material. Also CIS schools now offer significant schollies.

    As a BC resicent, do you want your tax payer dollars to subsidize players maybe from out of province playing in a non-Canadian league?

  5. Listened to an interview on CBC Radio this evening. The SFU rep on "As It Happens" (I assume it was the A.D. though I didn't catch the name) was downright Pollyannist about the move:

    Apparently all travel will be reduced. His evidence was that one of the schools in their future conference is only about 45 minutes away while the University of Brandon is all the way in Manitoba. No mention of schools in Alaska or Montana and no mention of the many CIS member schools in BC and Alberta, either.

    When asked about the effect on the CIS, instead of answering the question directly, he started talking about how proud the players were when the Canadian anthem was played before a baseball game against Arizona State.

    SFU will be representing all of Canada. Hooray for us!

    He is apparently the most uninformed CIS A.D. in Canada, too. He had a vague idea about UBC also applying to the NCAA but knew very little about it.

  6. Isn't SFU a private university?

  7. If I was the CIS President I'd be upset, but I can see why they did it. The CIS's (err, Ontario's) antiquated stance on scholarships is one of the main reasons why they and UBC are looking elsewhere. It seems silly to place a myriad of restrictions on athletic scholarships when we continually lose our best and brightest athletes to the NCAA.

  8. Just curious but has Simon Fraser ever won a team or individual championship while competing in NAIA?

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  10. They were wrestling team champions twice and runners up twice. They have won 39 individual wrestling titles, the most of any school in the NAIA.

  11. Don't quote me on specifics, but their women's softball team was a national championship contender in the NAIA a few years ago.

  12. Here is a list of the number of NAIA championships in each sport:

    Women's Cross Country: 10 team and 12 individual (both lead the NAIA)
    Women's Indoor Track & Field: 3 team and 53 individual (leads the NAIA)
    Women's Outdoor Track: 3 team and 58 individual (tied for NAIA lead)
    Women's Soccer: 2
    Women's Softball: 3
    Women's Swimming: 10 team and 248 individual (both lead the NAIA)

    Men's Cross Country: 1 team and 1 individual
    Men's Golf: 1 individual
    Men's Indoor Track & Field: 8 individual
    Men's Outdoor Track: 9 individual
    Men's Soccer: 3
    Men's Swimming: 17 team and 260 individual (both lead the NAIA)
    Men's Wrestling: 2 team and 29 individual (leads the NAIA)