The Wildcats gathered on Thursday afternoon to celebrate something big. Earlier this academic year, Johnson & Wales University received an invitation to join the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) and submitted their application to begin the explorartory membership process with NCAA Division III.
The program started with Victoria Diaz, a member of the women's soccer team, welcoming everyone to the event and share her perspective as a student-athlete on what this move means for her fellow Wildcats. She called upon Wildcat Willie to help pump up the crowd with giveaways ranging from t-shirts to flags to plush Wildcats. Tom Byrnes, Director of Athletics, followed Victoria and spoke to those gathered about what the move means for not just the student-athletes but the Denver Campus as a whole. He spoke of the member institutions of the SCAC and the increase in home contests as well as the chance to begin to build rivalries against these programs.
Denver Campus President, Dr. Richard Wiscott, wrapped up the celebration with recognition of the student-athletes and coaches as well as staff and faculty from both the Denver and Providence campuses who helped put together the application for the NCAA and met with representatives of the SCAC when they visited our campus this past summer. He spoke of this being just the first steps in the growing the culture on the Denver campus community.
Johnson & Wales University will spend the 2017-2018 academic year as an exploratory member of NCAA Division III. Wildcat teams will still compete within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.). JWU will have the opportunity to attend training programs at the NCAA national office as well as meetings throughout the year to learn more about the NCAA and the process of becoming members. In 2018-2019, JWU will begin competition in the SCAC against schools throughout Colorado, Louisiana and Texas.
You can learn more about the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference here.