WILMORE, Ky. – The National Collegiate Athletic Association approved Asbury University (AU) for Division III provisional membership, beginning Sept. 1, 2021.
Asbury becomes the fifth NCAA Division III institution in Kentucky, joining Centre College, Transylvania University, Berea College, and Spalding University.
Asbury is also a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and will compete in its postseason championships beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.
Division III is the largest division within the NCAA, with nearly 450 institutions across the nation. This comprises nearly 40% of the total NCAA membership. NCAA student-athletes have access to a variety of resources beyond athletics and the classroom, as well as a voice in discussions through student-athlete advisory committee activities on campus, regionally and nationally.
Asbury sponsors 16 intercollegiate sports, as well as cheerleading, representing more than 360 student-athletes. These student-athletes earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.43 during the 2020 fall semester. Men’s sports include: baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and tennis. Women’s sports include: basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball.
“This announcement is the culmination of a thorough review to determine the best missional fit for our intercollegiate athletics program,” said Asbury President Kevin J. Brown. “The process involved the president’s cabinet, the board of trustees, the athletics department staff, the NCAA staff and several benchmark institutions.”
“Asbury is committed to the unique student-athlete experience provided in the NCAA Division III structure. We look forward to this exciting opportunity and are most appreciative of the guidance and support from current NCAA Division III member institutions Transylvania University and Covenant College,” Brown said.
The NCAA Division III Membership Committee approved AU’s exploratory application Feb. 24. Asbury submitted a subsequent application for provisional membership along with an application to waive the exploratory year. The 10-member committee determined AU met conditions and obligations for provisional membership and made Asbury the first institution to get a waiver to accelerate the membership process from four years to three years.
“This is a very significant step for our university and the athletics program,” said Mark Whitworth, vice president for intercollegiate athletics & university strategic communications. “We are very grateful for the opportunity to provide an experience for our student-athletes, coaches and support staff that aligns with our academic and missional values. I am incredibly thankful for the hard work of many in our campus community, particularly our athletics leadership team.”
During the three-year process, Asbury will work closely with the NCAA membership committee and the NCAA staff to follow an established timeline leading to active membership in the fall of 2024. As a provisional member, AU is permitted to play an NCAA Division III regular season schedule but will not be eligible to compete in any NCAA postseason competition.
At the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic year, AU will transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the River States Conference (RSC) and the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC).