New era for Chapman University athletics as Panthers join SCIAC


After a unanimous vote from the SCIAC President’s Council, Chapman University has accepted an invitation to join the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), beginning with the 2011-12 academic year. Chapman will become the ninth member of the conference, following an eight-month application process that culminated in the unanimous vote on May 6.

“We accept with a great deal of pride this invitation to join SCIAC – we believe that Chapman can be highly competitive in the conference, and we greatly look forward to membership in this exemplary athletic association,” said Chapman President Jim Doti.  “Twenty years ago, Chapman made the decision to move from NCAA Division II to Division III. That transition involved three primary goals: to start a college football program, add more women’s sports and join the SCIAC. Today that mission is complete.”

The addition of Chapman to the SCIAC membership will be effective July 1, 2011, although Chapman will not be fully integrated into conference scheduling for one to two years. The Panthers will become eligible to compete for conference championships following a two- to three-year grace period, according to the SCIAC.

Upon joining the conference, Chapman will have up to three years to add intercollegiate programs in men’s track and field, men’s swimming and diving and women’s lacrosse. Chapman will also be expected to add women’s golf by the 2015-16 academic year. Of these programs, Chapman already offers men’s swimming and diving and women’s lacrosse as club sports. The additions will bring Chapman athletics to a total of 22 intercollegiate sports programs. Currently, Chapman offers 18 such programs (eight men’s, 10 women’s).

“The outstanding academic, athletic and leadership qualities at Chapman provide an excellent fit with the current membership and the league’s long tradition of excellence in academics and athletics,” said SCIAC Executive Director Lorin Huffman.

Chapman University has been an independent member of NCAA Division III since 1994. Upon transitioning from Division II to Division III, Chapman immediately aligned itself with its neighboring members in the SCIAC, partnering in intercollegiate scheduling, abiding by conference bylaws and sharing in the same small, private-school Division III student-athlete philosophies.

Chapman has won two Division III national championships (softball in 1995 and baseball in 2003) and has competed in 77 NCAA Division III postseason championships.

The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was established in 1915. The league is comprised of eight private colleges and universities in Southern California: California Institute of Technology, California Lutheran University, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, University of La Verne, Occidental College, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, University of Redlands and Whittier College.

In a letter to the university community President Doti praised the teamwork of all involved in the accomplishment.

“My congratulations to Chapman Athletics Director David Currey and his entire dedicated and tireless team of coaches and staff, and to all our student athletes past and present.  Dave and I would also like to express our gratitude to everyone else who assisted in the application process, including Terry Boesel, associate director of athletics; Mary Cahill, senior women’s athletics administrator; Doug Aiken, sports information director; Mike Pelly, vice chancellor and dean of enrollment management; Jon Kaplan, faculty athletics representative; Laura Alexander, student athletics representative; and Zach Wheatley, assistant men’s basketball coach and PowerPoint wizard.

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Dawn Bonker


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