Penn College Becomes Full Member of NCAA Division III
The NCAA Division III Management Council notified Penn College on Thursday that it has successfully completed the provisional membership process. As a full NCAA Division III member, the college will be eligible to compete for national championships and will have voting rights on NCAA legislation.
“This is wonderful news for Wildcat Athletics and for Penn College,” President Davie Jane Gilmour said. “Full Division III membership will help us attract more student-athletes. These students enter our gates with a heightened sense of grit and drive, and we know that Penn College student-athletes find the competition, discipline and teamwork required of a collegiate athlete integral to their record of success as leaders in their chosen professions.
“The college’s work toward full NCAA membership has already injected a welcome boost to campus spirit, which was on full display when we recently introduced our new Wildcat Athletic logo to a capacity crowd of students, faculty and staff. I want to commend everyone at the institution who played a role in moving this process forward."
Penn College completed its provisional status in just three years. Typically, institutions must complete four years of provisional status – following an initial exploratory year – before they can be recommended for full membership. In 2016-17, Penn College competed in the final year of its Division III provisional status, having been granted a waiver to bypass the third year of provisional membership.
The college received the waiver based on meeting all NCAA standards, as well as its strong involvement in leadership positions within the North Eastern Athletic Conference, participation in community service by its student-athletes and ongoing enhancements to the student-athlete experience on campus.
“This news is the result of years of strategic planning and hard work from all members of the Penn College community,” said Elliott Strickland, vice president for student affairs. “The fact that the NCAA approved our full membership a year ahead of schedule is a testament to the amazing team we have in athletics and the leadership of President Gilmour and our Board of Directors. This would not have happened without the incredible contributions of Scott Kennell –our former director of athletics, who began this process and saw us through the majority of the affiliation – and John Vandevere, our current director of athletics, who expertly brought us through the finish line.
“Our affiliation with the NCAA at the Division III level will provide our students with the best athletic and academic experience possible, and we are excited to show how this growth will continue, both through student-athlete success in the classroom and in competition within the North Eastern Athletic Conference.”
“We are delighted and proud of the NCAA’s decision to accept Penn College as a member of Division III,” Vandevere said. “This is an achievement that was accomplished because of the vision, support and hard work from so many throughout our campus. Our department is very grateful for the efforts of our community to help us reach full NCAA Division III membership.”
In the past four years, Penn College elevated six coaching positions from part-time to full time, added a second full-time athletic trainer and created a faculty athletic representative position. In competition, the baseball team won the 2015 NEAC championship and was runner-up in 2017. Additionally, the women’s soccer and men’s tennis teams each reached the NEAC playoffs twice, and the softball team made the postseason once.
The Wildcats had 52 student-athletes named All-Conference, two Rookie of the Year winners and one Coach of the Year, while 131 student-athletes earned NEAC Scholar Athlete honors.
Penn College student-athletes participate in 15 intercollegiate sports. The college is a member of the NEAC, which consists of 14 Division III institutions (eight private, six public) from New York; Pennsylvania; New Jersey; and Washington, D.C.
Twelve of Penn College's 15 intercollegiate athletic teams participate in the NEAC: men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, men’s golf, baseball, and softball. The college’s wrestling team competes at the Division III level as an independent; the men’s and women’s archery team has no affiliation with the NCAA and competes in USA Archery.
Nationwide, there are nearly 450 schools and more than 185,000 student-athletes competing in NCAA Division III athletics.
For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.