DENVER – Today the Western Athletic Conference officially welcomes California Baptist University as the ninth member of the conference. The Lancers now begin the four-year reclassification to Division I.
"Several factors make California Baptist University a great fit for the WAC," Commissioner Jeff Hurd said. "Commitment to quality academics and athletics programs, along the extraordinary vision provided by President Ellis, are at the top of the list. There is no doubt that CBU will make a smooth transition to Division I and to the WAC."
California Baptist is coming off an impressive 2017-18 season in which it captured its first Division II Learfield Directors' Cup. The Lancers scored in 14 total sports, including a pair of runner-up finishes in men's swimming & diving and women's golf. Five more CBU teams placed in the top 10 – women's cross country and wrestling took third, men's cross country came in fifth, men's basketball won the West Regional and was one of the last eight teams standing in D-II and women's swimming & diving ended up 10th.
CBU will not be eligible for WAC postseason competition in any sport in which the winner is the league's automatic qualifier for an NCAA championship (baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, women's soccer, softball, men's tennis, women's tennis and volleyball). CBU will be eligible for cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field WAC championships beginning in 2018-19. CBU may participate individually in the WAC Men's and Women's Golf Championships beginning in 2019, but only as unattached entries. In the sport of golf, CBU will not be eligible for the league's automatic team or individual qualifier to the NCAA Division I Men's or Women's Championship. In addition, CBU will be immediately eligible to win regular-season titles in all sports sponsored by the WAC.
The Lancers officially accepted an invitation to join the WAC on Jan. 13, 2017.
About California Baptist University
Founded in 1950 by the California Southern Baptist Convention, California Baptist University (CBU) is one of the top private Christian colleges and universities in Southern California, being named the U.S. News & World Report Best Regional University in 2017. CBU offers degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels, including 76 majors with more than 150 major concentrations and 52 minors for almost 10,000 undergraduate students. CBU believes each person has been created for a purpose and strives to help students understand and engage this purpose by providing a Christ-centered educational experience that integrates academics with spiritual and social development opportunities. Graduates are challenged to become individuals whose skills, integrity and sense of purpose glorify God and distinguish them in the workplace and in the world.
California Baptist University athletics became a fully-fledged National Collegiate Athletic Association in 2013-14, and will begin its transition to Division I in 2018-19 after five successful seasons in Division II. The Lancers capped off their D-II campaign by winning the Learfield Directors' Cup in 2018 after a pair of top-four finishes the previous two years. In five years as an NCAA member (2013-18), California Baptist reaped a total of 377 All-American honors and qualified 70 percent of its eligible teams (66 of 94) for the NCAA postseason. CBU captured seven individual national championships at the D-II level in the NCAA, with four coming in swimming and three more in wrestling. Over the years, CBU has won 71 conference championships and 39 national titles.