On Aug. 8, California Baptist University was granted full active status as an NCAA Division 1 institution by the NCAA Division 1 Board of Directors. D1 is the pinnacle of collegiate sports where only the best student-athletes compete every season to get their institutions to the top, win championships, or even take the shot at becoming professional athletes.
“It’s a great time to be a Lancer!” said the enthusiastic Tyler Mariucci, the Athletic Director of CBU. “I’m thrilled at the opportunity for us to compete at the highest level in the NCAA.” Another person who shares the same sentiment as the athletic director is CBU’s President, Dr. Ronald L. Ellis. He is exceptionally proud of the school, saying, “This is an exciting day for California Baptist University.” He explains how transitioning to full membership represents a significant step forward for CBU. It shows the school’s intent to pursue excellence continuously, and he is more than convinced that the student-athletes will compete even harder on the national stage.
CBU announced its plans to move to the next level in collegiate sports in a press conference on Jan. 13, 2017. It took four years for the transition to happen, in which the CBU Athletics team had tremendous success. This includes winning 11 conference championships, recording 24 top–three conference finishes and qualifying 14 teams for postseason tournaments that involved Division 1 programs.
Tyler Mariucci also spoke to many student-athletes, saying, “Everyone I’ve talked to is just as excited as I am.” It’s hard for them not to be excited because CBU’s active status makes the student-athletes eligible for the postseason. Assuming they have a good record at the end of the season to qualify. This allows the student-athletes to compete in the NCAA Division 1 Championships.
It’s easier said than done because taking that step up in competition means CBU will face stiff opposition. Last season CBU encountered teams like North Dakota, SE Missouri State, La Verne and Dixie State. However, A.D. Mariucci says, “Some of our nonconference opponents include USC, Minnesota, Washington, Arizona, Texas, UNLV, Cal, Oklahoma and more.” He continues, “[The] strength of schedule and exciting matchups are not only important to our fans and student-athletes but for seeding purposes in the national tournaments.” Suppose the student-athletes can perform well against these more prominent and well-established institutions. Then they have a significant chance of going deep into the postseason.
The full D1 status and postseason eligibility don’t just apply to sports like Basketball. Mariucci says, “The D1 postseason eligibility extends to all 18 of our NCAA-qualified sports at CBU.” This is incredibly positive news for the other student-athletes that play other sports at CBU. This allows them to showcase their abilities and the team’s strength in their respective sports.
With this new eligibility status, the Lancers are immediately eligible for NCAA Division 1 postseason play, including all Western Athletic Conference Championships in this upcoming 2022-23 season.