Concordia-Irvine starts transition to become NCAA Division II member

The NAIA men’s volleyball national champion runner-ups are making the move to the NCAA.

The Concordia-Irvine athletics department announced Friday that all of its teams including men’s volleyball have been accepted to NCAA Division II membership process.


The transition from the NAIA to the NCAA Division II is a three-year process that includes annual comprehensive reviews of the school’s athletics department by the NCAA Membership Committee. Concordia-Irvine at the earliest can become full NCAA Division II members in time for the 2017-18 school year.

Concordia-Irvine president Kurt Krueger said in a statement that the school’s increased enrollment and financial stability in recent years has positioned the university make the transition to NCAA.

“After thorough and well-planned consideration, we believe the Division II model falls directly in line with our Lutheran heritage, our core values, our approach to a whole person educational experience, and our mission of empowering students through the liberal arts and professional studies for lives of learning, service, and leadership,” Krueger said. “Concordia is poised to meet the qualifications and standards that define the NCAA Division II attributes of learning, service, balance, passion, resourcefulness, and sportsmanship. We are honored to be accepted by the NCAA Membership Committee to formally begin the membership process.”

The Concordia-Irvine men’s volleyball team won the 2013 NAIA championship and last season reached the NAIA championship match. In addition, the Eagles went 4-3 last season against NCAA Division I-II teams and won beat Princeton and the NCAA Division III champions Springfield en route to winning the 2014 Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic.

Former BYU coach Shawn Patchell is also entering his second season as Concordia-Irvine’s head coach.

Along with beginning its transition to NCAA Division II, Concordia-Irvine announced it would join the Pacific West Conference in 2015-16 for all sports besides men’s volleyball. The school did not announce any future conference affiliation plans for its men’s volleyball team.

Concordia-Irvine is the fourth men’s volleyball team in recent years to transition from NAIA to the NCAA Division II. Cal Baptist was the most recent West Coast team to complete the transition and joined the MPSF in 2013 during the final year of its three-year transition.

“We are finding more and more student-athletes are choosing NCAA Division II institutions based upon the balanced emphasis placed on both academic excellence and athletic achievement. Concordia University Irvine and the NCAA share the vision to provide a comprehensive educational experience that combines athletic excellence with the pursuit of academic excellence,” athletics director Dave Bireline said in a statement. “The university has been blessed over the years to build a highly competitive and sought-after athletics program. This is a milestone in Concordia University’s long history of growth. We look forward to the opportunities the NCAA and the PacWest will provide as we pursue membership in the NCAA Division II process.”