Benedictine at Mesa's bid to join NAIA approved

April 16, 2015

Benedictine University at Mesa Redhawks

Mesa, Arizona ~ After a five-month application and review process, Benedictine University at Mesa has been accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

The University’s athletic programs can now qualify for and participate in national tournaments and championships but cannot compete for postseason play until its second year of NAIA membership. Benedictine’s sports teams will compete as members of the California Pacific Conference (CAL PAC).

During the review process for acceptance into the NAIA, the University’s goals, strategic plan, philosophy and structure were evaluated for their alignment with NAIA rules and requirements.

“I could not be more proud of a group of kids and coaches for how they have embraced the idea and vision for bringing athletics to BenU at Mesa,” said Charlie Gregory, executive vice president of Benedictine University. “Our student-athletes have a sense of pride and confidence but more importantly, they get what it means to be Benedictine.

“I truly believe Redhawks athletics adds a dimension to Benedictine University at Mesa that both the University and larger community of Mesa can embrace and take pride in being a part of.”

The men’s and women’s golf, cross country, volleyball and tennis teams at BenU at Mesa will compete as NAIA programs in 2015-16 after a year of playing at the club level. Cheerleading, dance and men’s basketball programs will debut in fall 2015 and softball will compete beginning in spring 2016. Cheerleading, dance, men’s basketball and softball will all debut in the fall 2015 at the NAIA level.

The men’s volleyball team claimed fifth place in Division II at the 2015 National Collegiate Volleyball Federation Collegiate Club Volleyball Championships.

Steve Schafer, associate athletic director at Benedictine University at Mesa, said students and staff are well-prepared for what he predicts will be a competitive and successful athletic season in 2015-16.

“Each day is exciting and history-making as we start a new chapter, not only within athletics, but also as a University,” Schafer said. “Our intent is to recruit bright and talented students who can use college-level athletics to develop into responsible citizens within their respectively chosen careers.”

For more information about athletics and enrollment at Benedictine University at Mesa, please visit ben.edu/mesa, contact mesa@ben.edu or (602) 888-5533. The University is accepting applications for fall 2015 enrollment.

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Benedictine University at Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the fourth consecutive year in 2014. </p>

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