It’s official: Simon Fraser University’s Clan sports teams are now full members “with all the rights and privileges” of the U.S. National Collegiate Athletics Association Division II, says Milton Richards, SFU’s senior director of athletics and recreation.
SFU teams had played as provisional members of the NCAA last year, in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, but were ineligible for post-season play because the NCAA requires its member institutions to be accredited through a U.S. accreditation agency. SFU had applied for accreditation when it started the transition process to the NCAA three years ago, “but it became clear it was going to take way longer than three years,” says Dr. Richards.
Considering that no such university accreditation system exists in Canada, and that SFU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the NCAA Presidents Council decided this past August to make an exception in this case. Last year, says Dr. Richards, several Clan teams would have made it to post-season play, including the men’s soccer team, which finished the season undefeated.
SFU has a long tradition of playing in the United States through the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. However, over the years many of SFU’s traditional rivals switched to the larger NCAA. Simon Fraser is the first school outside the U.S. to play in the NCAA.
“All of our athletes have a tremendous amount of pride being the first to compete for a Canadian school in the NCAA,” says Dr. Richards. “This brings them all closer to their ultimate goal of winning an NCAA national championship.”