DAY 4 (Aug. 4): A New Era Of Competition Has Dawned
The 2012-13 season marks the beginning of a new era in Cougar Athletics, as Azusa Pacific’s transition into Candidacy Year Two of NCAA Division II membership entails significant changes for Cougar Athletics. Unlike Year One of the three-year membership process, when Azusa Pacific continued to compete as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC), the upcoming Years Two and Three of the transition bring a new affiliation designation and conference membership for the Cougars.
After claiming 37 NAIA championships, third-most in association history, along with 109 GSAC titles and an unprecedented eight consecutive NAIA Directors’ Cup trophies, Azusa Pacific takes its successful athletics tradition into NCAA Division II competition as a member of the Pacific West Conference, which now has 14 members making it the largest NCAA Div. II conference in the West Region. In addition, the Cougar football program gains its first-ever conference affiliation in 2012 with Azusa Pacific’s associate membership for football in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Although the Cougars are restricted from NCAA postseason competition while the university completes the final two years of the membership process, Azusa Pacific is now a counting opponent in NCAA strength-of-schedule calculations, and the Cougars are immediately eligible to compete for PacWest and GNAC regular-season championships.
Azusa Pacific will also maintain a secondary affiliation with the National Christian College Athletic Association and be eligible to compete in NCCAA postseason tournaments.
Indeed, “A new era of competition has dawned.”