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OPINION

SPORTS: Shorter's NCAA application OK'd

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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ROME, Ga. (BP)--Shorter University's application for admission into the NCAA Division II membership process has been accepted, the NCAA announced July 12.

Shorter immediately begins the three-year transition process as a candidate member for the NCAA during the 2011-2012 season, during which it will remain an active NAIA affiliate.

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University President Donald Dowless and Director of Athletics Bill Peterson learned of Shorter's approval in a conference call with the NCAA, ending a process that began in February with a feasibility study concerning potential NCAA Division II membership.

"We are excited that Shorter University will be moving along in the membership process at the NCAA Division II level," Dowless said. "The efforts of our athletic staff and the support of our faculty, staff and students have been instrumental in the process and we look forward to competing in the Gulf South Conference.

"Also, our fan support has been phenomenal," Dowless added. "We have a strong commitment to spiritual, academic and athletic success, and we move forward with great anticipation of good days ahead."

Said Peterson, "This is a wonderful day for Shorter University and for our athletic program. We are truly blessed and so appreciative of the support we have received from both our administration and our board of trustees. In particular, I would like to thank our coaches and our student-athletes. Their efforts made this tremendous possibility a reality."

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Shorter remains eligible for regular season and postseason tournament championships in both the Southern States Athletic Conference and Mid-South Conference during the 2011-2012 athletic campaigns, and also remains eligible to compete in NAIA national tournaments during that school year.

The university will enter the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years as an NCAA "provisional status" member while moving towards membership in the Gulf South Conference.

During this two-year provisional status period, Shorter will compete in Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II schedules and be required to operate under NCAA Division II regulations, but will be ineligible to compete in postseason play. Shorter's athletic schedules will include Gulf South Conference members such as the University of Alabama-Huntsville, University of North Alabama, University of West Alabama, Delta State University, Valdosta State University, University of West Georgia and the University of West Florida, among others.

The Gulf South Conference unanimously endorsed Shorter's application for NCAA Division II membership. Shorter first explored the prospect of applying for NCAA Division II membership after being approached by representatives of the Gulf South Conference last year. Shorter announced a restructuring of its athletic department in order to comply with NCAA regulations, naming Richard Cowan as its director of compliance, Cristy Pak as compliance coordinator and Rachel Rogers as senior woman administrator.

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Another Baptist-affiliated school, Union University, was also accepted for NCAA Division II candidacy status.

Compiled by staff of Shorter University and Baptist Press.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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