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Chapman University has accepted an invitation to join the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, beginning with the 2011-12 academic year.
Chapman will become the ninth member of the conference, following an eight-month application process that culminated in the unanimous vote on May 6.
“Twenty years ago, Chapman made the decision to move from NCAA Division II to Division III,” said Chapman President James L. Doti. “That transition involved three primary goals: to start a college football program, add more women’s sports and join the SCIAC. Today, that mission is complete.”
The addition of Chapman to the SCIAC membership will be effective July 1, 2011, although Chapman will not be fully integrated into conference scheduling for one to two years. The Panthers will become eligible to compete for conference championships after a two- to three-year grace period, according to the SCIAC.
Upon joining the conference, Chapman will have up to three years to add intercollegiate programs in men’s track and field, men’s swimming and diving, and women’s lacrosse. Chapman will also be expected to add women’s golf by the 2015-16 academic year. Of these programs, Chapman already offers men’s swimming and diving and women’s lacrosse as club sports. That would bring Chapman athletics to a total of 22 intercollegiate sports programs. Currently, Chapman offers 18 intercollegiate athletics programs (eight men, 10 women).