MISENHEIMER –– Pfeiffer University announced in a July 23 press release that it will be an official NCAA Division III member beginning Sept. 1.
The NCAA Division III Membership Committee voted to make Pfeiffer eligible for both the NCAA and USA South Athletic Conference championships starting this upcoming 2020-21 academic year.
“A lot of credit goes to our student-athletes, coaches and current and past administrators for getting us to this point,” Pfeiffer Director of Athletics Danielle Lafferty said in the university’s press release. “This process took a lot of hard work, patience and support from all. It took four years to receive news from the National Office that they have granted us full membership where I applaud the dedication and patience from our student-athletes and coaches.”
Back in 2016, Pfeiffer started the reclassification process to move from its NCAA Division II status to a Division III designation. The school’s 2016-17 academic year was the first year of the provisional process. Pfeiffer’s next steps were to join the USA South and obtain a waiver to narrow the reclassification process to three years instead of four.
“We see so much opportunity for success within Division III and the USA South and we are excited for our student-athletes to finally have the opportunity to fully compete for NCAA and USA South Championships,” Lafferty said.
“We have ingrained the Division III mission and values into each of our programs and are excited for the new vision of Division III athletics here at Pfeiffer. We look forward to competing at the highest level of Division III and providing an excellent experience our student-athletes can have in competition and in the classroom.”
With this new designation, Pfeiffer has become the ninth Division III institution within North Carolina. The USA South is the home to eight of those schools.
Throughout the country, Division III contains 450 institutions and more than 180,000 student-athletes. Though no athletic financial aid is available to these student-athletes (unlike those in Division I and Division II schools), Division III student-athletes are eligible for the same academic financial aid, grants and loan options as any student.