By Benjamin Wideman / Director of Media Relations and Sports Information
Silver Lake College is pleased to announce that it has been approved for membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), effective July 1, 2016.
The NAIA Council of Presidents voted on applicant schools earlier this week as part of the association’s 75th Annual National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. With the addition of Silver Lake College and three other colleges that were approved, NAIA membership now stands at 252 institutions.
“The NAIA will provide Silver Lake College with the support it will need as it grows and develops athletics over the next several years,” Silver Lake College President Dr. Chris Domes said. “The NAIA approach to character development aligns with Silver Lake College’s mission of developing the whole person — mind, body and spirit. We are excited to be joining this association with its long history and tradition of serving student-athletes.”
Silver Lake College offers men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s volleyball, cross country and golf. This academic year, SLC student-athletes represented eight states and four countries.
Derek Domino, who recently concluded his first season as Lakers men’s basketball coach, said he’s eager to join the NAIA.
“This is a tremendous step in the right direction for the Athletic Department and institution as a whole,” Domino said. “The NAIA is a reputable organization that has given student-athletes the opportunity to play at a highly competitive level for many years.”
Silver Lake College has fielded intercollegiate athletics for 35 years — making it the most established of the new NAIA members. The other new members include Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (16 years of athletics), University of the Virgin Islands (10 years), and Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould, Arkansas (seven years).
“We are very excited to welcome these four new institutions into the NAIA and pledge to be a part of their growth,” NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr said. “Our association offers a different approach that places student-athletes at the center of all decision-making and focuses on character at the core of sports. These institutions recognize the value the NAIA brings and desire to be a part of this great organization.”
The NAIA Membership Committee reviewed each institution’s application and determined which institutions would move to the next stage of the process. Those institutions then participated in a campus visit by a Membership Evaluation Team. The recommendations of each campus visit were supported by the Membership Committee, which then were presented to the Council of Presidents for final approval at the National Convention.
Silver Lake College was represented at the National Convention by faculty member Steven Kuehl, who also serves as the college’s Faculty Athletics Representative; and Benjamin Wideman, Sports Information Director.
Kuehl said he embraces the NAIA’s policies, which benefit student-athletes both on the court/field and in the classroom.
“I think the greatest asset that the NAIA brings is the fact that it aligns with Silver Lake College’s mission statement perfectly,” Kuehl said. “The NAIA has core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. The last one, in particular, directly ties in to a Franciscan education.”
For the 2016-2017 academic year, Silver Lake College will be dual affiliated with both the NAIA and the USCAA (United States Collegiate Athletic Association). New members in the NAIA undergo a one-year probationary period in which they are not able to participate in postseason competition; after that, they are voted upon to become active members, meaning they can then participate in postseason competition, be included in the national awards program and vote in NAIA business. Remaining in the USCAA for an additional season enables Silver Lake College student-athletes to stay eligible for postseason competition.