“Today, we enter a new era and are pleased to announce that Emmanuel College is now approved to begin the membership process for NCAA Division II. With that, we also graciously accept an invitation to join Conference Carolinas,” Emmanuel President Michael Stewart announced today in a press conference on campus in the athletic center that opened last fall.
This is the first year of the typical three-year process toward gaining full membership to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) DII for Emmanuel College (EC). Nearly half of the full time students at EC are student athletes.
EC Athletic Director José Larios stressed EC’s continued commitment to the same strong mission the College has always had.
“This NCAA DII candidacy membership transition is our commitment to pursue excellence in the recruitment of highly skilled student-athletes and fostering a culture of high academic success, as well as provide better competitive experiences. But, at the core, we will always be Emmanuel—we will always desire to be distinguished as a Christ-centered, community-minded athletic program. And though this is a new day for Emmanuel College, the core of who we are will never change.
“We all take this moment and thank all our athletic alumni and previous coaches who paved the way for this special time in Emmanuel athletics history,” Larios added.
President Stewart said balanced goals for our Christ-centered athletics program at Emmanuel are a natural fit with NCAA Division II and Conference Carolinas.
“As a strong and long-standing conference within the NCAA, Conference Carolinas is made up of many reputable academic institutions. We share their goals in offering a more balanced, even playing field for our student athletes. Conference Carolinas is comprised of many schools our size that share our faith-based mission. Because of the closer proximity of those schools, we also recognize the benefits of more time in class and less travel time for our students,” President Stewart said.
Dr. Alan Patterson, Commissioner of Conference Carolinas, voiced strong support for EC saying the conference presidents voted unanimously to sponsor the NCAA Division II application for membership of Emmanuel College.
"Your student athletes and coaching staff are extremely impressive when somebody from outside your institution comes in and has the opportunity to evaluate you," Dr. Patterson said. "Let me in every way pat you on the back, give you congratulations, and I look forward to seeing your competition several times a year."
The athletic program at Emmanuel began in the 1960s. EC began as members of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). In more recent years, EC has been good standing members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). EC has been and will remain a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).
More than 250 people inside the arena along with another 81 people watching online to witness the beginning of a new era in the EC athletic program.
Conference Carolinas now has 12 member institutions in both of the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia. King University is the lone school in Tennessee with Erskine, Limestone, North Greenville, Converse and fellow newcomers Southern Wesleyan located in South Carolina. North Carolina members include Pfeiffer, Barton, Mount Olive, Belmont Abbey and Lees-McRae. The Conference competes in the NCAA Southeast Region for post-season play along with the Peach Belt and South Atlantic Conference.
To watch the press conference, click here, select the red ON DEMAND tab, then click WATCH next to the event.