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SALT LAKE CITY — Westminster College has been accepted by the NCAA to begin the transition period as a Division II member institution, the school announced Tuesday.
Westminster, a former NAIA and Frontier Conference school located in the Sugar House area, will join the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference on Sept. 1 for an annually reviewed transition process that will take a minimum of three years to complete. The Griffins could be eligible to compete for RMAC and Division II championships as early as the 2018-19 academic year.
The Griffins won 22 regular-season Frontier Conference championships, 12 tournament championships and made 29 NAIA national tournament appearances in all sports, though skiing/snowboarding and lacrosse competed in other leagues.
"This approval is due to the efforts and support of many at the college," Westminster athletic director Shay Wyatt said in a statement. "While we still have much work ahead of us, this is an important step towards active membership within NCAA Division II and the RMAC, which will further enhance the college and the experience of our student-athletes."
The Griffins, who belonged to the RMAC from 1967-69, rejoin the league in men's and women's basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, track and volleyball. The RMAC espouses programs in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and South Dakota as well as the lone Utah college.
The men's and women's ski teams will continue in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association.
Westminster joins St. George-based Dixie State (Pac West Conference) as Division II member institutions in the state of Utah. The state no longer has an NAIA institution within its borders.
"NCAA Division II encourages excellence in its student-athletes and provides a supportive environment to move our athletic program forward in a student-focused manner," Westminster College President Steve Morgan said in a statement. "The Westminster community looks forward to participating in the RMAC and completing the transition to NCAA Division II active membership status."