Bob Jones University will be a provisional member of Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the university announced in a release on Tuesday, June 23. The university’s Bruins athletics department will enter its first year of provisional status on Sept. 1, 2020.
Under this provisional status, the university will begin a three-year evaluation and review period, according to the school. It will not be able to compete in Division III postseason tournaments. The university will also continue to be part of the National Christian College Athletic Association.
“This is a great day for Bob Jones University,” said Neal Ring, Bob Jones University’s director of athletics said. “I’d like to thank [Bob Jones University] President [Steve] Pettit and all of our staff for their hard work on this journey. We’re very thankful to the NCAA for the opportunity to join Division III, and we’re excited for the next steps in the membership process.”
In 2018, Ring organized a committee of members of the athletics department, university faculty and staff to explore dual affiliation with the NCCAA and NCAA. The committee unanimously recommended that the university pursue NCAA Division III affiliation after speaking with higher-education leaders from across the country. Pettit accepted the recommendation before it was unanimously approved by the board of trustees.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to participate in the NCAA,” Pettit said. “I appreciate the hard work of our athletic staff and student-athletes and look forward to seeing them compete in the NCAA to further the mission of Bob Jones University.”
While in the exploratory phase, the university added a baseball program in order to fulfill the division’s team sport requirement. The team’s first season will begin in spring 2021. While the university planned to add a women’s lacrosse team, those plans were not executed after reviewing the necessary sport requirements.
Last year, representatives from the NCAA DIII Membership Committee visited the university to meet with relevant coaches, staff and students, and the university submitted its official application for membership in January 2020.
Bob Jones University has 12 varsity programs and over 175 student-athletes.