“Members of the Pacific West (PacWest) Conference look forward to competing against California Baptist University because the Lancers will help strengthen an already strong conference,” Athletic Director Micah Parker said.
“They know that bringing in good institutions and good programs just makes the conference stronger,” Parker said.
The Lancers completed year one of a three-year National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II membership process and begin phase two during the 2011-2012 school year.
CBU can compete against schools from the PacWest during year two, but the Lancers will be ineligible for NCAA Regional and National Playoffs for two years.
“In year one you buy the car. In year two you test-drive the car. In year three you are ready for the road,” Parker said.
The Lancer athletic department is now fully compliant with NCAA Division II regulations, including restrictions on the amount of practices and games for each sports program.
“In year one we followed the NCAA rules except for playing and practice rules because we were still competing in an NAIA conference,” Parker said. “This year we are following all the rules.”
The structure and rules are not the only things that will be changing for the Lancers with the move out of the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association (NAIA).
“In the GSAC we were spoiled. There’s not that many conferences that have all their teams within an hour and then Fresno. Now we have to make sure that when we go on road trips that will be a little bit longer we need to make sure we are taking care of our studies on that trip,” Parker said.
Within the PacWest, CBU’s closest opponent is in a different state. Grand Canyon University, located in Phoenix, AZ, will be the shortest drive for the Lancers in conference play.
GCU has been a member of the PacWest two different times, with their current membership beginning in 2005.
“This is our second stint as members in the PacWest. We were originally there in the early ‘90s till about ’98, so we had about a six-year run in the conference from about ’92 till about ’98,” GCU Athletic Director Keith Baker said.
“Then ’05-’06 was our first year back. The first year back in the conference was still very restricted in this membership. It was still just Grand Canyon and the Hawaii schools.”
GCU has been one of the teams to beat in men’s soccer within the PacWest, finishing last season with only three losses in 20 games.
The Lancers will meet up with the Lopes of GCU twice this fall.
“Men’s soccer: is it going to be Grand Canyon or Notre Dame De Namur?” Baker said. “That’s not saying going forward that’s what it is, but that’s been the historical approach.”
The PacWest consists of three schools from the bay area of California, a school in Arizona, Utah and four schools in Hawaii.
“It’s also going to be a great educational experience to go to some of the places we’re going. Some teams will go to Hawaii,” Parker said. “In Hawaii they are going to see very different cultures.”
Due to an increase in the amount of traveling Lancer athletes will do for PacWest competition, student athletes will experience schedules structured more toward weekend games.
“With the GSAC in the past we would play on Tuesday and Saturday for many things. We’re not going to do that because of travel. Like baseball, for example, we might be playing Friday and Saturday instead of playing as much during the week,” Parker said.
Members of CBU’s former conference, the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) have expressed interest in joining the Lancers in the transition to NCAA division II.
Azusa Pacific University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Fresno Pacific University as well as California Pacific Conference member Holy Names University will begin year one of the membership process this fall.
“Basically the PacWest will have included four of the top NAIA schools,” Parker said. “So it makes it a bigger and stronger conference.”
While CBU waits for eligibility in the NCAA playoffs, Lancer athletics is allowed to participate in PacWest post-season tournaments.
“We are eligible for a conference championship and a regular season conference championship in the