April 14, 2014
Trinity Lutheran College is delighted to announce that the school’s application for membership to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) was approved at the NAIA Annual Convention on Sunday, April 13.
The NAIA describes itself as the “governing body for small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.” Nearly 300 colleges and universities compete in the NAIA, which sponsors 13 sports and 23 national championships.
“We are thrilled about this approval. This is a monumental step for us that is a part of a paradigm shift for Trinity Athletics,” said Athletic Director Matt Koenigs.
“The mission of the NAIA aligns perfectly with ours. It is competitive and it will challenge us. Getting to Nationals will not be easy, but I know that we can compete at this level and that the challenge of doing so will bring out the best in our student-athletes and their coaches.”
The Northwest boasts a number of NAIA programs, and the Eagles will join their ranks beginning this fall with the start of the 2014-2015 academic calendar.
In Washington State, Northwest University in Kirkland, Walla Walla University and Evergreen State College compete as members of the NAIA. Other Northwest NAIA members include The University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, Corban University, Northwest Christian University (Eugene), Warner Pacific College, Southern Oregon University and Lewis & Clark State, among others.
The Eagles, who have been competing in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), are certainly not intimidated by the move up in classification.
“At Everett Community College, our Cross-Country teams regularly beat ranked NAIA programs, even occasionally knocking off a top 5 team. So, I know that we can compete at this level,” said Koenigs, who also serves as Head Cross-Country and Track & Field Coach for Trinity.
As is the case with any first year NAIA member, the Eagles will not be immediately post season-eligible. During the 2014-2015 school year, Trinity will represent the NAIA as an Associate Member. After that first year, the college will be eligible for full NAIA Membership, pending review.
The biggest immediate change for the Eagles is that all prospective student-athletes need to register with the NAIA Eligibility Center.