You are here

Becoming a Division II Member Institution

The NCAA Division II membership process is a multiyear endeavor that prepares institutions for membership as successful Division II athletics programs. The minimum three-year membership process consists of two periods, the candidacy period and the provisional period. The candidacy period consists of at least two years (candidacy period year one and two) and at least one year of a provisional period. The process includes opportunities for education, assessment and growth as institutions integrate the Division II philosophy, strategic positioning platform and best practices to be a model Division II institution.

Downloadable Resources

An institution interested in becoming a Division II member must first complete a current application and provide an electronic copy and hard copy of the application to the NCAA national office not later than February 1. As noted in the application form, additional information (e.g., spring sport-sponsorship information) will be due June 1. The applicant institution must also provide a check in the amount of the appropriate application fee with the application. The NCAA Division II Membership Committee reviews all of the applications received by February 1 at its summer in-person meeting. Institutions accepted to begin the membership proves begin the first year of the candidacy period September 1.

During the first year of the candidacy period, institutions are encouraged to implement as much of the Division II legislation as possible.  There are several requirements that need to be fulfilled during candidacy period year one including but not limited to:

  • A mandatory meeting for presidents, directors of athletics and compliance officers held in the fall at the NCAA national office.  The meeting will familiarize those in candidacy period year one with the structure of NCAA Division II, Division II philosophy, function and the expectations of campus personnel and will begin to introduce institutions to resources available for administration of a Division II athletics program.
  • A mandatory meeting in January at the site of the annual NCAA Convention where individuals meet and have discussions with other candidacy institutions.
  • Assessment visit by a vendor assigned by the committee.  This visit provides a baseline for the committee to provide feedback to the institution and to evaluate its progress during the membership process. 
  • Completion of the annual report and Institutional Self Study Guide (ISSG).  The documents are a tool used by the committee to review the progress of the institution.  The annual report and ISSG are due to the national office not later than June 1 and must be provided in both an electronic and hard copy format.
  • Demonstrated involvement and commitment of the president or chancellor at the institution in the membership process.

During candidacy period year two of the membership process, institutions are encouraged to implement as much of the Division II legislation as possible.  Several requirements must be met during candidacy period year two including but not limited to:

  • A two-day visit to the candidacy period year two institution's campus.  The visit is attended by committee member, a staff liaison and the vendor assigned to the institution.  This visit provides an opportunity to evaluate whether an institution is integrating the philosophies of Division II and Division II legislation into the institution.
  • Completion of an annual report and an update to the ISSG that is submitted not later than June 1.
  • Demonstrated involvement and commitment of the president or chancellor at the institution in the membership process.

Once an institution begins the provisional period in the membership process, the institution must submit a sum equal to the annual fee and the Division II membership dues.  Several requirements must be met during the provisional year including but not limited to:

  • An institution is required to operate in full compliance with all Division II legislation.
  • A compliance blueprint review is conducted by the vendor assigned to the institution.  A compliance blueprint review is a comprehensive evaluation of an institution's compliance program.  The results of the review are shared with the institution and are included as part of the annual report.  The annual report and updated ISSG are due not later than June 1.
  • Demonstrated involvement and commitment of the president or chancellor at the institution in the membership process.

At the conclusion of the provisional year of the membership process, the committee evaluates the institution for invitation to active Division II membership.  Institutions may be required to repeat the provisional year.  An institution that is invited to active Division II membership officially becomes active September 1.