Emmanuel (GA) Joining Division II and Conference Carolinas

FRANKLIN SPRINGS, GA - Emmanuel College has been accepted as a provisional member of NCAA Division II and Conference Carolinas as announced on September 23 inside the Williamson Basketball Arena on the Emmanuel College campus. The Lions have now entered into the three-year process of moving from the NAIA into the NCAA.

"Today, we enter a new era and are pleased to announce that Emmanuel College is now approved to begin the membership process for NCAA Division II. With that, we also graciously accept an invitation to join Conference Carolinas," Emmanuel President Michael Stewart announced today in the press conference with over 250 people in attendance and even more watching live on-line.

The commissioner of Conference Carolinas, Dr. Alan Patterson was in attendance to welcome the Lions into the conference beginning next fall. Dr. Alan Patterson voiced strong support for Emmanuel saying the conference presidents voted unanimously to sponsor the NCAA Division II application for membership of Emmanuel College.

"Your student athletes and coaching staff are extremely impressive when somebody from outside your institution comes in and has the opportunity to evaluate you," Dr. Patterson said. "Let me in every way pat you on the back, give you congratulations, and I look forward to seeing your competition several times a year."

Transitions from the NAIA into the NCAA have already begun and the Lions will finish the current school year playing in the NAIA Southern States Athletic Conference before this move in 2014. In 2014 and 2015, the Lions will be scheduling partners with Conference Carolinas and will then be eligible for the Conference Carolinas and NCAA postseason in the fall of 2016 after meeting the NCAA benchmarks each year of the membership process. The Lions will continue post season play in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) during the transition period.

EC Athletic Director Jose Larios stressed Emmanuel's continued commitment to the same strong mission the College has always had.

"This NCAA DII candidacy membership transition is our commitment to pursue excellence in the recruitment of highly skilled student-athletes and fostering a culture of high academic success, as well as provide better competitive experiences. But, at the core, we will always be Emmanuel-we will always desire to be distinguished as a Christ-centered, community-minded athletic program. And though this is a new day for Emmanuel College, the core of who we are will never change."

President Stewart said balanced goals for our Christ-centered athletics program at Emmanuel are a natural fit with NCAA Division II and Conference Carolinas.

"As a strong and long-standing conference within the NCAA, Conference Carolinas is made up of many reputable academic institutions. We share their goals in offering a more balanced, even playing field for our student athletes. Conference Carolinas is comprised of many schools our size that share our faith-based mission. Because of the closer proximity of those schools, we also recognize the benefits of more time in class and less travel time for our students," President Stewart said.

The athletic program at Emmanuel began in the 1960s. In more recent years, EC has been good standing members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). EC has been and will remain a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association NCCAA).

Conference Carolinas now has 12 member institutions in both of the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Georgia. King University is the lone school in Tennessee with Erskine, Limestone, North Greenville, Converse, and fellow newcomers Southern Wesleyan located in South Carolina. North Carolina members include Pfeiffer, Barton, Mount Olive, Belmont Abbey, and Lees-McRae.

Belmont Abbey, Emmanuel, Lees-McRae, Limestone, Mount Olive and Pfeiffer all currently sponsor men's lacrosse as a varsity sport. While Belmont Abbey, Converse, Emmanuel, Erskine, Lees-McRae, Limestone, Mount Olive and Pfeiffer sponsor varsity lacrosse on the women's side. North Greenville will also be adding both men's and women's lacrosse in 2014-2015.


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