Children of Eden to be Staged on LCU Campus
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Athletics Moving Along in DII Transition

Staff Report

Jun. 21, 2013

Updating the Chaps and Lady Chaps move to NCAA Division II

Hays softball
Coach Daren Hays, pictured with freshman Katera Eltsossie in the 2013 season, will lead the LCU softball squad as they venture into NCAA Division II status.

Lubbock Christian University Athletic Director Paul Hise was kind enough to give us an update on the transition that his department is making to NCAA Division II status as he answered a few questions for The DusterToday:

Now that the LCU run in the NAIA is officially complete, what is the next step in making the transition to NCAA Division II?

Hise: We have recently completed the ISSG (Institutional Self Study Guide) and Annual Report and sent to the NCAA.  The NCAA Division II Membership Committee will review these documents and make their decision in the middle of July.  We will get a phone call from the NCAA and they will let us know if the Membership Committee has approved us to move into Year Two Candidacy.

What will be the most noticeable differences that fans will see once our teams start competing in 2013-14?

Hise: I think the most noticeable difference will be the teams that we are competing against.  We have been in the Sooner Athletic Conference for the last 19 years and our fans have grown accustomed to seeing many schools from the state of Oklahoma.  We look forward to developing some rivalries with new schools, many of which are from the state of Texas.  Also, we will be able to compete against some NCAA Division II schools in our area for our non-conference games (WTAMU, Angelo St., ENMU).

Can you tell us exactly how the move to the Heartland Conference will work ... will our teams be listed in the league standings or just be considered "exhibition" type games against the other league teams?

Hise: All of our Heartland Conference games will count in the league standings.  We will be listed in the conference standings, however, we will have an asterisk next to our name.  We aren't eligible for conference championships, but our student-athletes are eligible for conference awards (player of the week, All-Conference, etc.).  Our coaches are eligible for conference honors as well.  The top tier awards such as Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, etc. will not be awarded to any student-athletes from the schools in transition.  The reason is that the student-athletes that win these awards get their names sent to the regional and national committees to be considered for other awards.

Will you explain what happens in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 as far as the basic steps to begin competing for Division II titles?

Hise: We are not eligible for any conference titles in 2013-14 or 2014-15. We will also not be able to compete in the Heartland Conference Tournaments because the winners of the conference tournaments get the AQ (automatic qualifier) bid to the NCAA Regional Tournaments.  If a transitional school won the tournament, the conference would lose their AQ bid.  If we progress through the membership process as expected, we will be full members in 2015-16.  We will then have the ability to compete for Heartland Conference championships, be ranked in the NCAA Division II South Central Region, and appear in any national polls.  At that time, we would be able to advance to NCAA Regional Tournaments through the AQ process or at-large bids.

Any big trips planned for any of the athletic teams since they won't be competing for national titles?

Hise: Several of our teams are raising money outside of their operating budgets to take a trip next year.  The Volleyball and Women’s Soccer teams will make a trip to Costa Rica in December.  They will compete against local or national teams from Costa Rica. The NCAA allows teams to take trips outside the United States once every four years.  These trips must be during a vacation period (Summer, Spring Break, Christmas Break, etc.).  The Women’s Basketball and Softball teams are planning trips to Hawaii to compete vs. NCAA Division II opponents.  These games in Hawaii will not count against our NCAA Division II game limit.  The NCAA allows this exemption to encourage schools to travel to Hawaii and give these teams some home contests.  Many parents and fans are planning on traveling on these trips and the travel agents are able to make this an easy process for anyone wanting to attend.

Thanks, Paul, for taking the time to update us. We look forward to watching the growth of the athletic program as they make this step into NCAA Division II.

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