Big changes bring anticipation

Moving up to the NCAA is exciting for Biola students and athletes, and will bring about numerous changes.

Photo+Courtesy+of+Neil+Morgan

Photo Courtesy of Neil Morgan

Keaton Moore, Writer

Big changes are on the horizon for Biola University and they have the younger athletes excited. After spending over 50 years in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, Biola was officially accepted into the National Collegiate Association of Athletes on July 20, 2016, and will become the 15th team in the Pacwest.

Three-Year Acceptance Process

Although the athletic schedule will see no difference this year, Biola is beginning the first year of their three-year full acceptance process into the NCAA. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Biola will officially begin Pac West competition and reignite old rivalries with teams such as Azusa Pacific University, California Baptist University, Concordia University and Point Loma Nazarene University, all of whom were, at one time, members of the Golden State Athletic Conference.

“The pros will be better competition, renewed rivalries and greater opportunity to play at the next level,” said sophomore baseball infielder Anj Bourgeois.

The following year, 2018-2019, the Eagles will become an active member of the Pac West and take on full schedules in all 15 of the NCAA sports, including baseball, golf, soccer and more. However, during these last two years of the full acceptance process, Biola will be held from competing in the postseason and will miss out on the NCAA tournament.

“This period of no postseason definitely makes us want to win it all this year because we know we won’t have a chance next year,” Bourgeois said. “For me, as a sophomore, this is my only shot at winning a postseason tournament nonetheless, the NAIA world series.”

A Number of Changes

This move up to the NCAA will inevitably bring a number of changes to Biola athletics. Even in the early stages of the acceptance process, news of the change spread quickly and perked the ears of many prospective students on the verge of deciding whether they want to attend Biola.

“I did know about the move to NCAA before coming to Biola, and to be honest, when I heard about the move to DII NCAA, it made me more excited to come here because I would be playing against tougher competition, and as a competitor, that is what you want,” said junior men’s golfer Tristan Ginkel.

A New Caliber of Students

Not only will the NCAA attract a new caliber of students to Biola, the level of competition will increase for the Eagles. While teams such as the men’s and women’s soccer teams brought home the GSAC championships, the next few years will more than likely be difficult for Biola as they accustom themselves to a higher level of contention.

“Well, there really aren’t many negatives to moving into the NCAA other than, for some sports, it may be a little tough for the first couple of years because they may not be at a DII level yet,” said sophomore soccer midfielder Madyson Brown. “But we will get there.”

More important than the added competition, the Eagles understand there is something greater than sports in their lives. Moving out of the heavily Christian GSAC and into the secular NCAA is an incredibly valuable opportunity to share the love of Christ through sports.

“This Christian university gets to be an example to more people in my opinion,” said freshman soccer midfielder Jacob Sorenson. “As you get higher in the competitiveness, I have noticed there is a lower percentage of Christians… . So for us to show the gospel with how we play would be a big step, I think.”

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