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Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park Athletics accepts invitation to join NCAA Division II

Photo by pointparksports.com
Point Park is set to join NCAA Division II after accepting invitation last week.

This past Tuesday, it was announced that Point Park is to move up to the NCAA’s Division II in athletics.


“Point Park has received a formal invitation to join the Mountain East Conference (MEC), a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II league, beginning in the Fall of 2024,” President Chris Bussalis said in an email last Tuesday. “We will, of course, pursue this incredible opportunity by taking the next step, which is to apply for membership into the NCAA.”


NCAA Division II is an intermediate-level division of competition in the NCAA. It offers an alternative to both the larger and better-funded Division I and to the scholarship-free environment offered in Division III.


Of the current eleven schools in the Mountain East Conference, nine of them are located in West Virginia, not too far from campus and are closer than schools the university played at in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and River States Conference (RSC).


Coaches and athletes alike were very elated to hear the announcement last week. 


Although the NAIA has been a home for us during our entire half century existence, most of the teams that we originally competed against have left for the NCAA, making us the only NAIA in Pennsylvania,” baseball Head Coach Loren Torres said. We are looking forward to lessening the travel that we are currently undertaking, which will enhance the overall student/person/player experience.” 


Torres said that the team is “excited” and “ready” to take on new competitors in this higher division. 


Men’s soccer Head Coach Cameron Williams said he feels similarly. 


“There is much excitement in and around the school about moving to NCAA D2,” Williams said. “It’s another opportunity for our programs to grow and compete in intercollegiate sports. It will also help elevate the profile of the university by making this move. My coaching staff and I are very excited to start competing in the Mountain East Conference.”


Gilianna Stewardson, sophomore defender and captain of the women’s soccer team, said that this step is especially big for soccer.


“We will be competing against stronger teams which is beneficial for our progress as a team,” Stewardson said. “With the momentum from our success over the past two years we will be entering the new conference eager to make an impression. Additionally, this is a big deal for the recruiting part of athletics. The D2 title means more interest in Point Park athletics across the board.”


Melanie Taylor, a junior infielder and softball team captain, said she felt the higher division coming for a while.


“The news didn’t come completely as a shock to me because I knew our athletic program was excelling at the NAIA level,” Taylor said. “The RSC is still a very talented and competitive conference, but I think the MEC will be a good change for everyone. It will challenge us and make us work harder because we’d be seeing these teams for the first time, as they are with us.


Taylor said that at first, the announcement was “a little overwhelming” and is “concerned” about if athletic scholarship could be affected by performance but is “interested” in seeing the new competition. 


Spring sports will still play and perform in the NAIA and RSC. The new division will officially start in the fall.

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