KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo athletics will compete this fall in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) conference, after the Council of Presidents approved the campus for full membership. IU Kokomo was one of four institutions accepted under the new, more rigorous, annual membership process.
The vote came Sunday (April 15) during the NAIA’s annual meeting in Newport Beach, Calif., attended by Chancellor Michael Harris and other campus officials. The NAIA received seven applications in 2011, but only four made it through the entire process and received approval by the Council of Presidents.
“This is a historic moment for Indiana University Kokomo. As members of the NAIA, our athletics program will play a vital role in moving our campus forward, not only for IU Kokomo but for north central Indiana as well,” Harris said.
It was less than two years ago that Chancellor Harris announced the campus would offer club sports, with the intention to apply to the NAIA within the same year.
“We have achieved great milestones in record time,” Harris said. “I am grateful to Jack Tharp, Sarah Sarber, and Kathryn Stremiecki for their dedication and commitment to ensuring a successful athletics program at IU Kokomo. Also, much appreciation goes to our athletics advisory board and many others who have contributed to this momentous occasion.”
The NAIA Membership Committee reviewed each institution’s application and determined which institutions would move to the next stage of the process. Those institutions then participated in a campus visit by a Membership Evaluation Team. The results of those campus visits were reported to the Membership Committee, which then decided whether to recommend institutions to the Council of Presidents for final approval.
“We are pleased to accept these quality institutions as NAIA members,” said Ted Brown, chair of the NAIA Council of Presidents and President of Martin Methodist College (Tenn.). “This was the first year of a new process put in place to strengthen the review of membership applications, and it has worked well.”
Institutions applying to the NAIA must meet membership criteria that include sports sponsorship, accreditation and a commitment to character-driven athletics. The Membership Committee also reviews enrollment numbers, graduation percentages, retention rates, recruiting budgets, total athletics expenses and total athletics revenue.
Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO, noted that these new members were subjected to a more rigorous analysis than in the past.
“Our process ensures that the NAIA membership is strong and that new members share our values,” Carr said.
IU Kokomo offers women’s volleyball and men’s basketball, and has added men’s and women’s cross country beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.