LINCOLN, Ill., April 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --Lincoln College announced its acceptance into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) with a "Game On" rally Wednesday, April 18. The rally also afforded the school the opportunity to honor its men's volleyball team, which captured the national championship April 14 in St. Louis.
"This is a major accomplishment and a critical step in returning to our roots as a four-year university," Lincoln College President David Gerlach said. "Beginning next fall, our student athletes will be able to compete for a full four years. Our fans, who have been strong supporters of our athletes will now get to follow our athletes throughout their college careers."
"Having the opportunity to help make the transition to the NAIA was one of the things that most attracted me to Lincoln College," said Mark Perdue, who was recently appointed Athletic Director for Lincoln College. "This will benefit the college and our fans, but most important of all, it will be a terrific opportunity for our students. So many of our students have said they want to remain at Lincoln College, but they also want to continue to play sports in their junior and senior years. Now they will be able to do that."
Perdue added that Lincoln College is hoping to use the strong reputation it earned among community colleges and junior colleges during its many years in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) to now recruit student athletes graduating from those schools.
Students graduating from community colleges will now have Lincoln College as an option to continue their athletic careers.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) gave formal approval to Lincoln College's application at their annual convention in Kansas CityApril 15. Lincoln College was one of eight institutions approved, bringing the total number of NAIA member institutions to 253.
The athletic organization is headquartered in Kansas City and is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships that seek to balance athletics with the overall college educational experience. The student-athlete is the center of all NAIA experiences.
"Lincoln College has a strong tradition of outstanding student athletes. We had 37 Academic All-Americans last year and our core values fit in very well with those of the NAIA," Perdue added.