Finally, the Lions get their day

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: July 14, 2010

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa. — Lincoln University of Pennsylvania has been approved for active National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II membership effective September 1st.

As a Division II member, Lincoln will be able to subscribe to the National Letter of Intent, apply for enhancement funds, and earn the right to compete for national championships.

Additionally, the University becomes a voting member at the 2011 NCAA Convention. Lincoln’s administration was notified of the move Friday, July 9, 2010 with a formal announcement expected from the NCAA on Tuesday once the NCAA liaisons return to the National Office.

“Developing our athletic program has been an extensive yet rewarding journey, and is an important component in achieving our institutional objectives for the academic and social development of our students,” said University President Ivory V. Nelson.

“With the University receiving full active membership as Division II coupled with our plans to upgrade our athletic facilities, our students can take advantage of a top tier athletic program.”

“The requirements of the Division II Life in the Balance focus, where student athletes must excel in the classroom, on the field and in the community, exemplifies the primary reason for Lincoln University seeking Division II status. The Membership Committee’s approval has allowed us to achieve another momentous milestone in our history.”

The acceptance culminates Lincoln’s three-year transition from Division III to Division II. As active members, the Lions are able to petition the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (which Lincoln helped found in 1912) for membership.

The CIAA is the nation’s oldest Black athletic conference entering its 99th year of existence. “The conference is excited to welcome home one of our founding institutions,” said CIAA Commissioner Leon Kerry.

“Lincoln (PA) has a rich history, dedicated fan base and a prominent athletic program that will undoubtedly add to the continued success of the CIAA.”

Lincoln Director of Athletics Dianthia Ford-Kee welcomes a full return to the conference she was familiar with for so long. She played basketball and softball at Fayetteville State.

She also spent 18 years as a coach and administrator at Shaw University, located in Raleigh, N.C. She arrived at Lincoln prior to the 2008-09 season and begins her third year at the helm of the department.

“This is a great moment in Lincoln University’s rich athletic history,” said Ford-Kee. “I am proud to have played a part in this transition. My staff and I are excited about the opportunities that our student-athletes will embark upon as an active NCAA Division II member and as well as the official return to the CIAA.”

“Many thanks to the NCAA DII Membership Committee and its representatives for the guidance and support provided throughout the transition.”

The conference affiliation is the Lions’ first since 1992-93 when they were a part of the Eastern States Athletic Conference in Division III. That conference included institutions such as Salisbury (Md.), Allentown (now DeSales), Frostburg State (Md.) and Shenandoah (Va.).

Men and women’s soccer will compete in Division II as an independent, as the CIAA does not sponsor those sports.