AMHERST, N.Y. – Daemen College has been recommended for advancement to active membership status at the Division II level by the NCAA’s Membership Committee.  Daemen officials learned the news late last week in a phone call to President Gary A. Olson, and made the announcement public by hosting a press conference today at Lumsden Gymnasium.

Today’s announcement marks the completion of Daemen’s NCAA Division II membership initiative, a project which officially got underway in the 2012-13 academic year, following approximately two years of planning.  Daemen, which has since joined the East Coast Conference (ECC) of Division II, will be eligible to compete for both ECC and NCAA post-season championships beginning September 1.

“We are honored to become an active member of NCAA Division II and proud to be the only college in the Buffalo-Niagara Region to hold this prominent designation,” said Olson.  “As a Division II member, we will provide our student-athletes an exceptional opportunity to compete at a higher level while upholding our strong commitment to excellence in the classroom and fostering a culture of academic success.  This is truly the beginning of a new era in Daemen Athletics.”

Other speakers at today’s press event included Director of Athletics Bridget Niland, Board of Trustees member and Chair of the Board’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Richard J. Day, former student-athlete and 1992 Daemen graduate Rob Robinson, current student-athlete Natalie Galus of the women’s basketball team and longtime local media member and current Buffalo Bills play-by-play announcer John Murphy.

“All of us in Daemen Athletics are extremely excited to be Buffalo-Niagara’s only NCAA Division II college program,” said Niland.  “The transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics to NCAA Division II membership was a campus-wide and total team effort that increased the number of Daemen student-athletes from 110 to over 180.  These increased participation opportunities will not only allow more local high school athletes to remain in Western New York for college, but will also draw new students to the area.  NCAA Division II athletics places a premium on excellence in academics driven by the determination and dedication learned through competitive intercollegiate athletics, and we are happy to be the engine that has brought this exciting level of intercollegiate athletics to our region.”

Daemen is one of seven schools nationwide to be recommended for advancement to active membership status.  Those advancing, which in addition to Daemen includes Fresno Pacific University, Lee University, Lubbock Christian University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Christian University and The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, will bring the total number of NCAA Division II schools to 307.  The final step in the process occurs July 27-28 when the NCAA’s Management Council meets in Indianapolis; the Management Council is expected to accept the Membership Committee’s recommendation at that time.

Since the initial planning stages of its NCAA Division II membership initiative, Daemen has grown its Athletic Department in various ways, most notably doubling the number of intercollegiate athletics programs (from eight to 16).

A major step in the transition was joining the ECC, and since doing so in 2013, Daemen’s intercollegiate teams have shown tremendous growth and have experienced success with several programs finishing at or near the top of the sport’s standings.  In the short span of ECC membership, Daemen teams would have registered three conference tournament berths had they been eligible, highlighted by the men’s basketball team’s ECC regular-season championship in its inaugural year of ECC competition.  In addition, the men’s and women’s cross country teams have both finished in the top four in their respective conference championship meets in each of the last two years, while men’s and women’s track and field athletes have captured several individual ECC titles in various events, during both the indoor and outdoor seasons.

Additionally, Daemen athletes have accounted for 61 all-conference selections in the past two seasons.  That group was undoubtedly headlined by men’s basketball star Gerald Beverly who was a two-time First Team All-ECC and ECC Defensive Player of the Year selection, and who, this past winter, became the first Daemen athlete to garner All-American honors at the Division II level.

Daemen currently offers 16 intercollegiate sports.  Sports for both men and women are: basketball, soccer, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, and tennis; Daemen also offers men’s golf and women’s volleyball, triathlon and bowling, with the latter two entering their inaugural seasons of competition in 2015-16.  All but men’s golf and women’s triathlon compete in the ECC.

Founded in 1910, the NCAA is the governing body for more than 1,200 schools nationwide with more than 400,000 student-athletes.  In 1973, the membership divided into three divisions, and at present, there are more than 300 Division II members, including 10 independents.

* May 2012 – Application for NCAA membership submitted
* July 13, 2012 – NCAA approves application and Candidacy Year One status
* July 12, 2013 – NCAA approves Candidacy Year Two status
* July 11, 2014 – NCAA approves Provisional Year status

* July 17, 2015 – NCAA Membership Committee recommends Daemen for advancement to active member status


“We are very excited with the news of Daemen’s move into full NCAA Division II status. The work done by Dr. Gary Olson, Bridget Niland and the entire group of Daemen Wildcat staff members and student-athletes over the past few years has been outstanding. They have already proven to be a significant part of the East Coast Conference and we look forward to watching their continued growth and success. Congratulations to Daemen College!” Dr. Robert Dranoff,  Commissioner East Coast Conference

“Daemen College continues to excel in its commitment to academics and athletics. Their ascension to active membership in NCAA Division II is certainly a testament to the commitment of their outstanding Director of Athletics, Bridget Niland, and it is also a reflection of the commitment from President Gary A. Olson, the faculty, the alumni, and of course the student-athletes. Daemen College is a valuable asset and engaged partner for the Town of Amherst, the community and all of Western New York.” Guy R. Marlette, Deputy Supervisor, Town of Amherst

“The Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission congratulates Daemen Athletics on its NCAA Division II membership. As the only Division II athletics program in the Buffalo-Niagara Region, Daemen Athletics adds a new and exciting level of competition and fan experience to the already robust athletic scene in our communities.  We look forward to working with Daemen College to expand amateur athletic event opportunities in Western New York.” Pete Harvey, Director of Sports Development, Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission

“Daemen College’s move to NCAA Division II is a milestone moment for college athletics in Western New York.  ADPRO Sports is proud to be the official uniform and apparel provider for Daemen Athletics and we look forward to celebrating their future athletic successes.” Ron Raccuia, President, ADPRO Sports

“As a former student-athlete of the Daemen College men’s basketball program, I am ecstatic about the College’s move to NCAA Division II.  For years Daemen has competed against NCAA Division II programs and excelled. Daemen’s location, size and the vision of its leaders make Daemen the ideal place to bring the excitement of Division II athletics to Buffalo.  Also, with the leadership, experience, and abilities of coaches like Mike MacDonald, I have no doubt that the entire Wildcat program will continue to grow and win.” Chris Moore ,’00 Field Agent, United States Secret Service / Daemen College men’s basketball team member 1996-2000

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