Cumberland did not make the cut regarding its bid to be accepted for membership in the NCAA.
Athletic director Ron Pavan said Friday night school president Harvill Eaton received a phone call earlier in the day saying the school was not on the list of schools accepted into membership candidacy by the NCAA Division II Membership Committee.
That is probably not the end of the story, said Pavan, who was AD at Ohio Valley University when that institution made the transition from NAIA to NCAA.
Pavan said he is waiting for a letter from the committee detailing its concerns with Cumberland’s application, which was submitted in January. Committee members visited the campus in the spring.
Depending on what the concerns listed in the letter are, the school may appeal the decision.
“If there are certain things we want to look at and then we would want to appeal,” Pavan said. “Three schools did last year.”
Schools who were accepted into membership candidacy Friday will begin a three-year transitional process to the NCAA beginning Sept. 1. If and when Cumberland is accepted and the transitional process begins, the school would have one final academic year to compete in the NAIA, in which the institution’s athletic program has participated since returning to four-year status in the mid-1980s, before spending two years in which the school’s teams would be ineligible for NCAA-sanctioned postseason play.
If Cumberland completes the three-year transition, membership in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference awaits. The GMAC already includes longtime rival Trevecca as a member along with Ohio Valley.
But as far as Cumberland is concerned, the process is in limbo until the letter from the NCAA arrives.
“You can’t say it’s bad. You can’t say it’s good. It’s a holding pattern,” Pavan said. “I don’t know when they’re going to send it. It may be after July 23 when the Management Council meets.”