December 3, 2023

California Baptist University is gearing up to enter Division-1 sports and fans are excited to build community.

“Because CBU is in Division-1, we get to watch high quality sports while coming together as a community to support our teams,” said Tracy Johnson, senior kinesiology major.

CBU has achieved many great academic feats since its humble beginnings. They are currently set to be fully initiated into the NCAA Division-I level and the Western Athletic Conference after starting a transition process in 2018-19.

Before joining the NCAA, CBU had been a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) member since 1969. Now they are making the trek to NCAA Division-I status. CBU joined the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) in 1987. Within the next 25 years, they earned 28 conference crowns.

It captured 22 NAIA championships and racked up 149 individual national championships in the NAIA over 16 years (1996-2011), winning its first two national titles in 1999.

CBU entered the application process for the NCAA in the summer of 2010..

CBU steadily climbed through the Division-II Learfield Directors’ Cup rankings, an award given based on a school’s overall success across collegiate athletics, before winning in 2017.

In the Divison-II PacWest era (2013-2018), 70 percent (66 of 94) of CBU’s eligible teams qualified for the NCAA postseason. They ended this era by going public with plans to become a Division-I school in 2017.

CBU exited Division-II and the PacWest in 2017-18 with an impressive display of athletic prowess. It won the Division-II Learfield Directors’ Cup after a runner-up finish in 2017, and it won the PacWest Commissioner’s Cup for the sixth time and fifth year in a row.

In the process of joining Division-I sports, CBU was set to undergo a four-year transition during which it would not be eligible for the NCAA postseason. CBU may not participate in WAC postseason competition in any sport in which the winner is the league’s automatic qualifier for an NCAA Championship (all sports outside of golf, track, cross-country and swimming) This transition period is ending in the 2022-23 year.

CBU has won 81 conference championships in its history.. Additionally, it has won 57 conference titles and 53 conference crowns in the NCAA. With all these incredible feats and a total of 40 national championships in the past, CBU has a strong prospect for future success as it enters its Division-I era.

In terms of emotional connection to CBU as a school, this development carries significant weight.

“It brings a huge sense of pride to be a part of this school and community,” said Mike Contreras, junior applied theology major. “The events are way bigger and more hype because they’re Division-1. There’s legitimate weight to our games.”

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