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Benedictine University Admitted to NCAA Division II Membership Process, Set to Join GLVC

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division II Membership Committee announced Friday (July, 13, 2018) that Benedictine University has been granted access to the NCAA Division II membership process, thus paving the way for the Eagles to become the 16th member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) prior to the 2019-20 academic year.

With unanimous support of its Council of Presidents, the GLVC formally invited Benedictine to be admitted to the league in October 2017, which then prompted the Benedictine Board of Trustees to approve the University’s submission of an application to reclassify from NCAA Division III to Division II in December. On February 1, 2018, Benedictine successfully submitted application for NCAA Division II membership.

“In any university’s development, there are landmark moments that help define an institution,” said Benedictine University President Michael S. Brophy, PhD, MFA.  “This move is going to give our athletics program the opportunity to advance and grow as never before. It is a proud day for BenU!”

A multiyear endeavor, the NCAA Division II membership process prepares applying institutions for a successful transition. The provisional process for Benedictine is a minimum of three years that includes opportunities for education, assessment and growth, as well as a chance to fully integrate the Division II philosophy, strategic positioning platform and best practices to be a successful Division II institution.

“The GLVC Council of Presidents is pleased to welcome Benedictine University as our next member, following our unanimous endorsement of the recommendation from the league’s faculty athletic representatives last fall,” said Dr. Rob Manuel, University of Indianapolis President and Chair of the GLVC Council of Presidents.

During provisional year one of the membership process (2018-19), Benedictine will still compete in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC), Midwest Lacrosse Conference (MLC), and the Midwest Women’s Lacrosse Conference (MWLC).  Due to acceptance into the Division II membership process, Benedictine will not be eligible to compete in NCAA DIII Championships.  The Eagles are eligible to win regular-season league titles and can also have student-athletes earn All-Conference honors.  During this time, Benedictine will begin implementing Division II policies and procedures, but will not offer student-athletes any athletic scholarships.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Benedictine University,” said Benedictine Athletics Director Mark McHorney. “A move to Division II and participation in the GLVC increases Benedictine’s regional visibility and will appeal to athletes seeking to play at a higher competitive level by opening the door to new student recruitment markets in the Midwest.”

Benedictine will officially become a GLVC member upon receipt of initiation fees, entitling the institution to voting privileges in 2018-19, and regular season competition beginning in 2019-20 during its second provisional year of the DII membership process.  The institution will be expected to comply with all NCAA Division II legislation and bylaws, including offering athletic aid to student-athletes.  During this time, the Eagles will be eligible to compete in GLVC Championship events that are not tied to an NCAA Championship automatic qualifying bid, as they are ineligible for all NCAA Division II postseason competition.

“The Great Lakes Valley Conference is pleased to welcome Benedictine University to our family,” said GLVC Commissioner Jim Naumovich. “We are thrilled to have found a like-minded institution within our geographic footprint to become our 16th member.”

After successful completion of the third and final provisional year of the transition (2020-21), Benedictine will become active members of NCAA Division II, enabling its teams and student-athletes the ability to compete in all GLVC and NCAA Championships.

Benedictine currently sponsors 19 sports, 17 of which are sponsored by the GLVC, including all seven of the league’s core sports: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, and volleyball.  The Eagles will also compete under the GLVC banner in men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field.  They do not sponsor four GLVC sports, including men’s and women’s swimming and diving and men’s and women’s tennis.  The GLVC does not sponsor two additional Benedictine sports in men’s volleyball and women’s lacrosse, although the league is hopeful to begin sponsoring the latter in the near future.

Founded in 1887 by the monks of St. Procopius Abbey, Benedictine is a private, four-year Roman Catholic university, with a total enrollment of 5,101 students.  Its main campus is located in Lisle, Illinois.  The 108-acre wooded campus is just 25 miles west of downtown Chicago, five miles from downtown Naperville, and 15 miles north of Romeoville and GLVC member Lewis University.

With nearly 500 student-athletes in the department, Benedictine has totaled 81 conference championships, 68 NCAA Division III Championship team bids and 43 NCAA individual appearances.  The Eagles have registered six top-16 finishes in the country between men’s basketball, softball, men’s soccer and men’s track and field, while the department has owned over a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average the last four years.

The GLVC is currently one of the largest NCAA Division II conferences in the country, featuring 14 schools and 22 sports.  The conference was established in 1978 and made up of six schools in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, but has moved westward to include four Illinois schools, seven Missouri schools and one school from Wisconsin among its membership.  The current members of the GLVC are:  Bellarmine University (Louisville, Ky.), Drury University (Springfield, Mo.), University of Illinois Springfield (Springfield, Ill.), University of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, Ind.), Lewis University (Romeoville, Ill.), Maryville University (St. Louis, Mo.), McKendree University (Lebanon, Ill.), Missouri University of Science & Technology (Rolla, Mo.), University of Missouri-St. Louis (St. Louis, Mo.), Quincy University (Quincy, Ill.), Rockhurst University (Kansas City, Mo.), University of Southern Indiana (Evansville, Ind.), Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo.), and William Jewell College (Liberty, Mo).

The GLVC had been at 16 member institutions up until two years ago, following the addition of Truman State in 2012.  The league dropped to 15 member institutions for the 2017-18 season when Saint Joseph’s College suspended operations, and recently fell to 14 institutions with the departure of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.  On May 31, 2018, the GLVC announced Southwest Baptist University (Bolivar, Mo.) of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) will become the league’s 15th member prior to the 2019-20 season.

Benedictine University
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org).

Great Lakes Valley Conference
The Great Lakes Valley Conference is one of the premier NCAA Division II conferences, currently made up of 14 member institutions from four Midwest states (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin) and comprised of 6,000 student-athletes, 50,000 students and 500,000 alumni.  Founded in 1978, the GLVC has grown to sponsor 22 conference championships and is among the nation’s elite in academic and athletic success.  GLVC schools have captured 18 NCAA Division II national championships, including 11 on the men’s side, seven of which are in basketball, and two of seven women’s titles that were won this past year (Golf, Softball).  Among the 24 NCAA Division II conferences analyzed in the 2017-18 report published by the national office, the GLVC ranked tied for third in Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) at 65 percent and third in Academic Success Rate (ASR) at 84 percent for all student-athletes.  The GLVC is also home to the GLVC Sports Network – the first NCAA Division II conference-wide digital streaming network that launched in 2014.  GLVCSN, which can be found on Apple TV 4th Generation, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Roku devices, as well as iOS and Android mobile apps, has streamed a total of 369 events at all 82 GLVC Championships while a total of 5,719 events across 20 of the league’s 22 sports have been streamed on campus.  For more information about the GLVC and GLVCSN, visit the conference’s official websites at GLVCsports.com and GLVCSN.com.