Westmont women's basketball NAIA national tournament March 2022. | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom (file)

Westmont College announced that it has been officially accepted into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and will start a three-year transition to competing at the Division II level as a member of the Pacific West Conference (PacWest).

The school has competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC), since 1986 and submitted its application for the NCAA last February.

“I am incredibly thankful for the tireless effort of our athletics staff, coaches, and Westmont college administrators who have invested time and resources to bring us to this point in our history,” said Robert Ruiz, Wesmont’s director of athletics. “It is an honor to be accepted into the membership process, and we believe that we have prepared appropriately to lead our athletic programs successfully into the NCAA. I look forward to the challenges and growth opportunities that await our student-athletes, coaches, and administrators in the journey ahead.”

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Westmont will continue competing in the NAIA and GSAC through the 2022-23 athletic year and will transition to playing a full regular-season schedule in the PacWest conference for 2023-24 and 2024-25. The school will not be eligible for postseason play in the NCAA during the next three years and instead plans to compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association championships until 2025-26, when it should meet all requirements for a full NCAA Division II membership.

The move also reignites old rivalries with former opponents — like Azusa Pacific, Biola, and Concordia — who also competed in the GSAC before becoming part of the PacWest.

“We consider it a great honor to be considered for membership in the NCAA and are hopeful as we begin the process,” said Westmont President Gayle Beebe. 

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