RMAC adds another new school

Westminster College of Salt Lake City has been accepted as the 16th member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, contingent on the school successfully completing the move from the NAIA...National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics...to NCAA Division II.

After NCAA acceptance, Westminster would begin a 3-year membership process and start RMAC competition in the 2015-16 academic year...although the Griffins will likely have non-conference action in multiple sports against RMAC members before then.

Westminster's RMAC membership follows the acceptance last month of South Dakota School of Mines, which will be phased into RMAC scheduling starting this fall and be fully integrated, like Westminster, in the 2015-16 academic year.

RMAC Presidents Council Chairman Dr Stephen Jordan of Metro State says the league is excited to add Westminster and fully supports the school's commitment to NCAA Division II and the RMAC. Westminster President Dr Brian Levin-Stankevich NCAA and RMAC membership are an ideal long-term fit for the goals and aspirations of the college and its athletic department.

Negotiations with Westminster began while Chadron State Athletic Director Joel Smith was still RMAC commissioner. He says the league has been looking to expand to 16 schools for some time.

Smith says adding Westminster and a divisional arrangement in several sports will actually reduce travel for many RMAC schools...including Chadron State.

Westminster does not play football while South Dakota Mines does, which would leave the RMAC with an odd number of football schools and a league schedule with one team having a bye each week.
Smith says there are no plans for Westminster to add football and that other options are being explored to eliminate the bye-week issue.

This will actually be Westminster's second membership stint in the RMAC. It was a member of the RMAC from 1967 until it dropped varsity athletics in 1979.

Sports were reinstated in 1999 and the Griffins are 18-7 since then against 9 RMAC teams in men's basketball with winning series records against 7 of them. That includes beating CSC 94-69 during a Thanksgiving tournament in Salt Lake City in 2012.

Founded in 1875, Westminster College has 3,100 students from 49 states and 36 countries...over 240 of whom are involved in athletics.

The Griffins, currently part of the Frontier Conference, competes in 14 varsity sports sponsored by the RMAC, including women's volleyball and lacrosse and men's and women's basketball, cross country, indoor and outdoor track, golf, and soccer.

Westminster also claims more students competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics than any other U.S. college/university, 23, thanks to an integrated partnership-tuition remission arrangement with the United States Ski and Snowboard Association. More than 100 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team members have attended Westminster since the program began in 2005.

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