Though the application process lasted nine months--with visits by SCIAC's presidents council and endless amounts of paperwork--Aiken says it was really a two- to three-year process before the actual process, which culminated in the conference extending the invitation to apply.
Not only does Chapman University's acceptance into the SCIAC benefit the athletic program--creating natural rivalries, presenting the chance to win conference championships, and simplify qualifying for NCAA postseason play--but the move also speaks highly of Chapman as a place of learning, according to Aiken.
"With the academic reputation [of the schools in] the SCIAC, Chapman is very honored to have that association," he said. Among the schools in the SCIAC are the California Institute of Technology, or CalTech, and the Claremont Colleges, which are sometimes known as the Ivy League of the west.
Chapman first applied to join the SCIAC in 1994, but was denied. In the time since, the university has been strategic in trying to align itself with the eight schools that were already members, according to Aiken. Chapman made certain to schedule athletic contests with the SCIAC schools, abided by the conference's bylaws and rules, built relationships with the coaches, and voted in lock-step at NCAA conventions.
"When we applied in '94, we had a lot of growing to do," Aiken said. It seems the school has filled out pretty well.
Aiken indicated that Chapman won't be fully integrated into the SCIAC until the 2012/13 school year.
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 3, 2:38 P.M.: The university that Jim Doti built (figuratively, not literally--he's too small to lug all those bricks) has yet another distinction to add to its ever-improving national image: a sports conference to call home. After years as an independent in athletic competition, Chapman applied and has been accepted to join the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).
On a video announcement
on the school's blog, the athletic director, David Currey
, shared how the eight-month application process culminated with a unanimous vote in May and that Chapman's place in SCIAC will be effective July 1, 2011.
"Twenty years ago, Chapman made the decison to move from NCAA Division II to Division III," said Doti, in a statement released by the university. "That transition involved three primary goals: to start a college football program, add more women's sports and join the SCIAC. Today that mission is complete."
Stipulations of joining the SCIAC are that Chapman will add several varsity programs, including women's golf, men's track and field, men's swimming and diving, and women's lacrosse. The latter two sports groups already exist at Chapman as club programs. The additional sports programs will bring Chapman's total up to 22 intercollegiate sports teams.
According to a press release by the SCIAC, Chapman will be eligible for conference championships after a two- to three-year grace period. During that time, the university will be able to qualify for NCAA Championship tournaments as an at-large bid.
With the addition of Chapman, the SCIAC will be comprised of nine private colleges and universities, including California Institute of Technology, California Lutheran University, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, University of La Verne, Occidental College, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, University of Redlands, and Whittier College.