NCAA approves Mexico colleges

Div. II GNAC might be first to admit school from South of border
Cetys College Field.

NCAA Division II, the only division with a Canadian member, is opening its doors to another North American country.

On Saturday, delegates voting at the NCAA Convention’s Division II business session in Indianapolis overwhelmingly passed legislation that will allow schools in Mexico to apply for Division II membership.

The legislation is effective immediately, providing the opportunity for Mexican colleges and universities to meet this year’s Feb. 1 deadline for Division II membership applications. Mexican schools applying for membership will need to meet the same standards as schools in the U.S., which includes having accreditation from a U.S. accrediting agency and completing the minimum three-year membership process. The Division II Membership Committee vets all applicant schools and determines those which will be accepted into the division.

“Higher education now more than ever before must lead the way in helping to build inclusive communities and foster diverse learning communities and learning opportunities,” Chico State president Gayle Hutchinson said to the Division II administrators and student-athletes in attendance. “Many of our schools already have academic programs that cross cultural and country boundaries. Adopting this legislation adds a similar opportunity for our intercollegiate athletic programs.”

Ten years ago, the NCAA approved accepting Canadian schools, and in 2012, Simon Fraser in Vancouver, British Columbia became the only non-U.S. full-time member - playing in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Concordia and Western Oregon are conference members as well.

Given that there is a dearth of Division II programs in the American West, adding a program in Mexico, one that’s only about an hour’s drive from San Diego, could help save on travel costs and make scheduling easier in some sports. The CCAA does not sponsor football, so Cetys may end up playing in the Great Northwest Conference, with powerhouse Humbolt State and Simon Fraser. An American college football game between a Mexican university and a Canadian university would be pretty fun. It may be winnable for Cetys too, since Simon Fraser finished 0-10 last year.

Plus, it would give students at both schools increased opportunities for cultural exchanges and new experiences, which is part of the entire dang point of college sports.