Pfeiffer becomes full Div. III member

Published 6:47 pm Friday, June 28, 2019


The NCAA Division III Membership Committee has granted a waiver request that will accelerate the NCAA transition process for Pfeiffer University, making the Falcon athletic program a full, NCAA Division III Championship-eligible member beginning in the 2020-21 academic year. With this waiver, Pfeiffer will also become eligible for USA South Conference championships.

The Pfeiffer University athletics department began their reclassification from NCAA Division II to Division III beginning with an exploratory year in the 2016-17 academic year. Year one of the provisional process officially began in the 2017-18 academic year. Over that transition span from 2017 to the present, Pfeiffer joined the USA South Athletic Conference and has satisfied the NCAA requirements for the transition. Unlike Divisions I and II, Division III members do not offer athletic financial aid to student athletes.

The upcoming 2019-20 academic year will be Pfeiffer’s final year competing as a provisional NCAA Division III member. The provisional process as written by NCAA legislation is a five-year process, consisting of an exploratory year and then four years of provisional membership with a task list of requirements. The NCAA offers a waiver to provisional members after year two of the process to accelerate the timeline by one year.

“The waiver that was submitted was carefully thought out. We had great support from the USA South conference office and NCAA staff in guiding us to meet the requirements and explain why our department was beyond ready to become full NCAA Division III members a year early,” said Pfeiffer Athletics Director Danielle Lafferty.

Lafferty continued, “Our coaches and department administration are beyond thrilled that the NCAA Membership Committee has approved our waiver to speed our provisional membership process up by one year. This has been a long time coming to hear this great news. The University, athletic department and more importantly, the Pfeiffer student-athletes are going to see a positive impact from this waiver grant. We have proven our commitment to transform our department to fit the NCAA Division III model and philosophy. The University will see a positive shift in recruitment, retention and competitive success. We knew how much of a sacrifice this decision was to reclassify from Division II to Division III and a lot of credit goes to our coaching staff who have been extremely patient and understanding of the decision. We are excited to know that we will be eligible for USA South Conference and NCAA Championships once again very soon.”

During the reclassification, Pfeiffer has earned postseason berths in several sports offered by the ECAC, with women’s soccer, women’s basketball, cross country, indoor track & field, men’s tennis, baseball, softball, women’s lacrosse and men’s lacrosse. Pfeiffer’s softball team won the ECAC Division III championships in both 2018 and 2019 while the baseball team captured their first ECAC title in 2019. The men’s tennis team enjoyed success in ECAC competition as well, winning the 2018 championship. The indoor track & field programs have also brought home several podium finishes in their ECAC championship competition. Pfeiffer also plans to continue membership with the ECAC.

Geographically, Pfeiffer would become the ninth Division III institution in North Carolina, eight of which currently compete in the USA South Conference.

Division III is the largest category of competition offered by the NCAA, with more than 180,000 student-athletes at 450 institutions nationwide, many with a focus on the liberal arts and academic quality. With Division III athletics, each team practices and plays according to regular seasons, giving student-athletes time and access to study abroad and student leadership opportunities, among other academic advantages.