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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 provisional process for NCAA Division III institutions and NAIA institutions is a minimum of three years, and the reclassification process for Division I institutions is a minimum of two years. 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.

An institution interested in becoming a Division II member must first complete an application on the NCAA Program Hub by February 1. (Applications filed for 2015-16 must be completed by June 1, 2015; thereafter, the deadline will be February 1.) Additional information (for example, final 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 into the membership process begin the first year on September 1, the beginning of practice in any sport for the fall term or the first day of classes for that fall term, whichever occurs first. 

Provisional period

During the first year of the provisional period of the membership process, institutions are expected to implement as much of the Division II legislation as possible. Several requirements must be fulfilled during provisional year one, including:

  • Demonstrated administration of its athletics program in accordance with NCAA legislation regarding full-time enrollment, good academic standing, sports sponsorship and health and safety;
  • A comprehensive self-study and evaluation of its intercollegiate athletics program using the Division II Institutional Self-Study Guide (ISSG);
  • Demonstrated involvement and commitment of the president or chancellor at the institution, as determined by the Membership Committee;
  • An on-campus assessment conducted by an outside group selected by the Membership Committee. NCAA staff and a representative of the Membership Committee will also participate to review the readiness of the institution to become an active member, as measured against a Division II active member’s athletics program; 
  • An annual report submitted by June 1, which shall include an updated athletics department strategic plan. See the Membership Committee’s policies and procedures manual for more clarification regarding the content of an annual report;
  • A visit paid by the institution to an active member institution’s campus, as selected by the Membership Committee;
  • Attendance at an orientation session conducted by the national office staff related to basic Division II operating rules and membership requirements. Institutional representatives required to attend are the chancellor or president, the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative, a compliance administrator and any additional individual to whom athletics reports;
  • Attendance at the NCAA Division II Convention Business and Membership Committee Sessions. Institutional representatives required to attend are the chancellor or president, the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative and a compliance administrator; and
  • Attendance at the Regional Rules Seminar conducted by the NCAA. Institutional representatives required to attend are the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative, a compliance administrator and a liaison from financial aid and the registrar’s office.

During provisional year two of the membership process, institutions are expected to be in full compliance with Division II legislation. Several requirements must be met during provisional year two, including:

  • Demonstrated administration of its athletics program in accordance with the constitution, bylaws and other legislation of the Association;
  • Demonstrated involvement and commitment of the president or chancellor at the institution in the membership process, as determined by the Membership Committee; 
  • An on-campus assessment conducted by an outside group selected by the Membership Committee. The assessment shall include completion of the NCAA Compliance Blueprint Review;
  • An annual report submitted by June 1, which shall include an updated athletics department strategic plan. See the Membership Committee’s policies and procedures manual for more clarification regarding the content of an annual report;
  • Attendance at the NCAA Division II Convention Business and Membership Committee Sessions. Institutional representatives required to attend are the chancellor or president, the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative and a compliance administrator; and
  • Attendance at the Regional Rules Seminar conducted by the NCAA. Institutional representatives required to attend are the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative, a compliance administrator and a liaison from financial aid and the registrar’s office.

Once an institution begins year three of the provisional period, the institution must submit an additional membership fee set by the membership committee and the Division II membership dues. Several requirements must be met during year three of the provisional period, including:

  • Demonstrated administration of its athletics program in accordance with the constitution, bylaws and other legislation of the Association;
  • Demonstrated involvement and commitment of the president or chancellor at the institution, as determined by the Membership Committee;
  • An on-campus assessment conducted by an outside group selected by the Membership Committee to review the readiness of the institution to become an active member;
  • An annual report submitted by June 1, which shall include an updated athletics department strategic plan. See the Membership Committee’s policies and procedures manual for more clarification regarding the content of an annual report;
  • Attendance at the NCAA Division II Convention business and Membership Committee sessions. Institutional representatives required to attend are the chancellor or president, the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative and a compliance administrator; and
  • Attendance at the Regional Rules Seminar conducted by the NCAA. Institutional representatives required to attend are the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative, a compliance administrator and a liaison from financial aid and the registrar’s office.

Institutions in the membership process are also required to satisfy the following requirements at least once during the three-year membership process to obtain active membership:

  • Attendance at the NCAA Inclusion Forum. Institutional representatives required to attend are the senior woman administrator and a senior level administrator outside of athletics;
  • Attendance by the faculty athletics representative at the Faculty Athletics Representative Association National Convention; and
  • Attendance by the senior woman administrator at a professional development event (for example, NACWAA Convention, Administrative Enhancement Institute, NACDA Convention).

Reclassification process

Reclassifying institutions are required to satisfy the following requirements during year one of the reclassification period:

  • Demonstrated administration of the institution’s athletics program in accordance with the constitution of Division II and all bylaws and other Division II legislation with the exception of Bylaw 15 (Financial Aid);
  • Demonstrated involvement and commitment of the chancellor or president at the institution, as determined by the Membership Committee;
  • An on-campus assessment conducted by an outside group selected by the Membership Committee.  NCAA staff and a representative of the Membership Committee will also participate to review the readiness of the institution to become an active Division II member;
  • A comprehensive self-study and evaluation of the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program using the Division II Institutional Self-Study Guide;
  • An annual report submitted by June 1, which shall include an updated athletics department strategic plan;
  • Attendance at an orientation session conducted by the national office staff related to basic Division II operating rules and membership requirements.  Institutional representatives required to attend are the chancellor or president, the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative, a compliance administrator and any additional individual to whom athletics reports;
  • Attendance at the NCAA Division II Convention Business Session and Membership Committee Session.  Institutional representatives required to attend are the chancellor or president, the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative and a compliance administrator; and
  • Attendance at all Division II sessions during the NCAA Regional Rules Seminar conducted by the NCAA.  Institutional representatives required to attend are the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative, a compliance administrator and a liaison from financial aid and the registrar’s office.

Reclassifying institutions are required to satisfy the following requirements during year two of the reclassification period:

  • Demonstrated administration of its athletics program in accordance with the constitution, bylaws and other Division II legislation with the exception of Bylaw 15 (Financial Aid);
  • Demonstrated involvement and commitment of the president or chancellor at the institution in the membership process, as determined by the Membership Committee;
  • An on-campus assessment conducted by an outside group selected by the Membership Committee.  The assessment shall include completion of the Division II Compliance Blueprint Review;
  • An annual report submitted by June 1, which shall include an updated athletics department strategic plan;
  • Attendance at the NCAA Division II Convention Business Session and Membership Committee Session.  Institutional representatives required to attend are the chancellor or president, the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative and a compliance administrator; and
  • Attendance at all Division II sessions during the NCAA Regional Rules Seminar conducted by the NCAA.  Institutional representatives required to attend are the director of athletics, the senior woman administrator, the faculty athletics representative, a compliance administrator and a liaison from the financial aid and registrar’s office.

At the end of the provisional period or reclassification process, the committee evaluates the institution for invitation to active Division II membership. Institutions may be required to repeat a year during the process if appropriate progress is not being made.  Institutions are permitted to repeat only one year of the process. Additionally, institutions are required to be a full member of a Division II conference before becoming active.  An institution that is invited to active Division II membership officially becomes active September 1, the beginning of practice in any sport for the fall term or the first day of classes for that fall term, whichever occurs first.