COLUMBUS, Miss.— The National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Membership Committee approved Mississippi University for Women Athletics’ exploratory application.
“Today marks a huge step forward for Owls Athletics. With the acceptance of our exploratory application, we have shown a commitment and desire to be a part of the NCAA and its outstanding membership,” said Jason Trufant, director of athletics.
Owls Athletics will be an official exploratory member beginning Sept. 1. The exploratory year of membership marks the first of a five-year process to becoming a Division III NCAA member.
“Over the past several years many have worked toward this important milestone for The W and our athletics program, and I want to thank them, as well as our outstanding athletics staff, on behalf of our student-athletes who will benefit from this good work,” said W President Jim Borsig.
According to Trufant, the application of exploratory membership covered all facets of a fully-functional athletic department and university. The 79-page report consisted of university policies and procedures concerning, but not limited to admissions, financial aid, student support and enrollment. Compliance procedures, student-athlete and staff handbooks, scheduling, roster goals and athletic training were among the areas included relating to the athletic department.
The four years to follow the exploratory year of membership will include setting educational and operational benchmarks that will introduce The W to the Division III philosophy and best practices. Exploratory institutions are assigned a mentor by the NCAA to answer questions and provide feedback.
Key university staff members will travel to NCAA headquarters later this year to begin the orientation and educational process.