Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 16, 2012

NAIA conference accepts IUK bid

Campus 1 of 4 institutions invited to join athletics conference

Kokomo — Indiana University Kokomo sports teams will compete this fall in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics conference, the school reported Monday.

The campus was accepted into the conference Sunday during the NAIA’s annual meeting in Newport Beach, Calif.

IU Kokomo was one of four institutions invited under the new, more rigorous membership process, according to an IU Kokomo press release.

Seven schools applied, the release states.

IU Kokomo will join Indiana Wesleyan University, Marian University, Grace College, Huntington University and 13 other Indiana institutions in the NAIA.

A membership committee evaluates institutions that apply on enrollment numbers, graduation rates, retention rates, recruiting budgets, total athletic expenses and total athletics revenue, the press release states.

That committee reviewed each institution’s application and determined which ones would move on to the next stage of the process. Then those schools participated in a campus visit by a membership evaluation team, the release states.

“We are pleased to accept these quality institutions as NAIA members,” said Ted Brown, chairman of the NAIA Council of Presidents.

To remain in the conference, though, the university has to have six varsity sports within four years.

The university has added four athletic programs so far, including women’s volleyball, men’s basketball and men’s and women’s cross country.

Less than two years ago, IU Kokomo Chancellor Michael Harris announced the campus would offer club sports. Even then, he said he intended to apply to the NAIA.

“We have achieved great milestones in record time,” Harris said. “This is a historic moment for Indiana University Kokomo. ... As members of the NAIA, our athletics program will play a vital role in moving our campus forward.”

• Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, may be reached at 765-454-8585 or lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com

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