RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (Jan. 13) California Baptist University has accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference effective July 1, 2018, CBU and WAC officials announced today at a joint news conference. The invitation is contingent upon CBU completing the reclassification process from NCAA Division II to Division I. The Lancers will begin WAC regular season competition during the 2018-19 school year.
“Several factors make California Baptist University a great fit for the WAC,” Commissioner Jeff Hurd said. “Commitment to quality academics and athletics programs, along the extraordinary vision provided by President Ellis, are at the top of the list. There is no doubt that CBU will make a smooth transition to Division I and to the WAC.”
The Lancers, which last year placed fourth in the NCAA Division II Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, recently earned the Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence for four-year Academic Success Rates of 90 percent or higher.
“On behalf of my fellow WAC Presidents and Chancellors, I am delighted to welcome California Baptist University as a Western Athletic Conference member institution,” said one of the Dr. Horace Mitchell, President of California State University, Bakersfield, and Chairman of the WAC’s Board of Directors. “Utah Valley President Matthew Holland, Grand Canyon President Brian Mueller, WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd and I made a visit to CBU in early October. We were impressed by the university’s academic programs, its commitment to transitioning its athletics program to NCAA Division I and its strong desire to join the WAC.
“In addition, CBU President Ronald Ellis made a compelling case for membership in the WAC when he met with the full WAC Board in Denver in November. Welcome Lancers!”
CBU will become the ninth member of the conference in 2018-19, joining Cal State University, Bakersfield; Chicago State University; Grand Canyon University; the University of Missouri-Kansas City; New Mexico State University; Seattle University; The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; and Utah Valley University.
CBU will not be eligible for WAC postseason competition in any sport in which the winner is the league’s automatic qualifier for an NCAA championship (baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, softball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and volleyball). CBU will be eligible for cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field conference championships beginning in 2018-19. CBU may participate individually in the WAC Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships beginning in 2019, but only as unattached entries. In the sport of golf, CBU will not be eligible for the league’s automatic team or individual qualifier to the NCAA Division I Men’s or Women’s Championship. In addition, CBU will be immediately eligible to win regular-season titles in all sports sponsored by the WAC.