Pfeiffer University announces that it has applied to enter the exploratory phase of NCAA Division III membership for all athletics programs. Pfeiffer, which has competed at the NCAA Division II level for more than two decades, has made this decision after thorough research by athletics and administration regarding best alignment for Pfeiffer in terms of academics, geography and athletic program.
“The NCAA Division III philosophy—to provide students a learning experience that includes academic achievement, strong athletic competition and service-learning opportunities—aligns strongly with Pfeiffer’s mission,” said Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, president. “Division III schools are highly regarded for providing a well-rounded education, allowing student-athletes the opportunity to be students first and foremost.”
Division III is the largest category of competition offered by the NCAA, with more than 180,000 student-athletes at 450 colleges and universities nationwide, many with a focus on the liberal arts and academic quality. With Division III athletics, each team practices and plays according to regular seasons, giving student-athletes time and access to study abroad and student leadership opportunities, among other advantages.
While Division III schools do not offer scholarships for athletics, Pfeiffer is fully committed to honoring the athletics scholarships promised to all current student-athletes for the time they remain at Pfeiffer through what would be their senior year. If Pfeiffer’s application to Division III is accepted, future qualified student-athletes will be offered scholarships based on academic merit similar to non-athletes.
Assuming acceptance by the NCAA, Pfeiffer would begin a four-to-five year transition, remaining for the next two years as a Division II participant before beginning Division III competition fall 2017. Full integration would take place with the 2019-2020 academic year.
“President Keith, the board of trustees and I are dedicated to working with our coaches and student-athletes to make the transition to Division III as smooth as possible,” said Bob Reasso ’73, vice president for athletics. “Pfeiffer’s focus on educating the whole student, which includes creating opportunity for athletics success, is in the forefront of the decision to pursue NCAA Division III status.”