Asbury Hosts First Home NCAA Doubleheader
September 10, 2021
Asbury University, which became a provisional member of NCAA Division III on September 1, is hosting a men’s and women’s soccer double-header on Saturday, Sept. 11, with the men’s team hosting Cedarville University (NCAA Division II) at 5 p.m. and the women’s battling Kentucky Wesleyan (NCAA Division II) at 7 p.m.
The games mark an exciting home fall sports season of new NCAA opponents for soccer in addition to cross country, golf and volleyball. Division III is the largest division of the NCAA, with more than 400 member institutions around the nation.
The NCAA Division III model is based on providing a well-rounded collegiate experience that involves a balance of rigorous academics, competitive athletics and the opportunity to pursue a multitude of other co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities.
“This is the culmination of a thorough review to determine the best missional fit for our intercollegiate athletics program,” said Asbury’s president Dr. Kevin J. Brown. “The process involved the President’s cabinet, the Board of Trustees, the Athletics department staff, the NCAA staff and several benchmark institutions.”
“Asbury is committed to the unique student-athlete experience provided in theDivision III structure. We look forward to this exciting opportunity and are most appreciative of the guidance and support from current NCAA Division III member institutions, Transylvania University and Covenant College.”
“This is a very significant step for our university and the athletics program,” said Mark Whitworth, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics & University Strategic Communications. “We are very grateful for the opportunity to provide an experience for our student-athletes, coaches and support staff that aligns with our academic and missional values. I am incredibly thankful for the hard work of many in our campus community, particularly our athletics leadership team.”
Asbury becomes the fifth NCAA Division III institution in Kentucky, joining Centre College, Transylvania University, Berea College, and Spalding University.
During the three-year process, Asbury will work closely with the NCAA membership committee and the NCAA staff to follow an established timeline leading to active membership in the fall of 2024. As a provisional member, AU is permitted to play an NCAA Division III regular season schedule but will not be eligible to compete in any NCAA postseason competition.
Asbury is also a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and will compete in its postseason championships beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.
“I’m excited to make the switch and I look forward to the competition level and seeing how my girls rise to the occasion of a new dynamic of program,” said Women’s Soccer Head Coach Elyse Overton. “The way the DIII is structured will better fit our institution’s missions and our athletic department’s goals. I expect us to grow over the next few years and really become contenders within a conference and as always, I’m excited to see the caliber of recruits we will have as we make the full transition over the next few years.”
Fans this fall can look forward to an exciting lineup of local matchups with schools like Centre College, Transylvania University, and Berea College.
“The men’s soccer team is beyond excited about our move to the NCAA,” said Men’s Soccer Head Coach and Associate Athletics Director Ben Andrews. “The support we have received from the Asbury and surrounding communities has meant a lot. The future is bright, and we could not be more proud to represent #TEAMAU in the NCAA!”
The men’s and women’s cross country teams compete in the Hanover Invitational on Saturday, September 11, while the volleyball team travels to Berea this weekend.
Senior volleyball player Bethany Fye is looking forward to the competition.
“I am super excited for the move to NCAA Division III because of the opportunity to be able to focus on being a student first,” she said. “The new competition will also give Asbury teams the opportunity to become stronger players.”
To learn more about the Asbury Eagles, visit asburyeagles.com.