Mississippi University for Women approved for NCAA membership

Published 5:06 pm Thursday, June 29, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Mississippi University for Women is now a member of the NCAA.

The NCAA on Wednesday informed the W that it has successfully completed its mandatory Year Three Report and, consequently, has obtained full active membership status in the NCAA’s Division III. The Owls had been competing as an independent institution, without an NCAA or conference affiliation.

MUW’s membership will become effective on Sept. 1. It will be eligible to participate in all NCAA postseason tournaments. The university has 15 varsity teams in men’s and women’s sports.

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Reaching full membership also triggers the Owls’ conference affiliation with the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC), set to begin in the fall of 2023. Conference membership was contingent on The W’s program successfully gaining full NCAA III affiliation.

“We are proud of what our athletic director and staff have accomplished since we reinstated intercollegiate athletics six years ago,” MUW President Nora R. Miller said. “Being accepted as full members of the NCAA and the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is a testament to that hard work.”

The announcement ends a six-year journey — four of which were spent navigating the NCAA membership process — for MUW, which reinstated its athletics program in 2017. The school’s athletics teams competed in the small college United States Collegiate Athletic Association, but ease of scheduling, geographic rivalries, and a broader championship experience were all reasons for pursuing NCAA membership.

Division III schools offer only academic and need-based scholarships, and do not provide athletic scholarships.

With the addition of The W – as well as Lyon College (Ark.) – beginning in 2023-24, the SLIAC will be composed of 10 institutions in Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Arkansas.

Current SLIAC members are: Blackburn College, Eureka College, Greenville University and Principia College in Illinois; Fontbonne University and Webster University, both in St. Louis, Missouri; Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky; and Westminster College in Missouri.

“The SLIAC has been building schedules and working with the various MUW administrators for going on three years,” SLIAC commissioner Dick Kaiser said. “Everyone in Columbus should be extremely proud the institution stayed the course.”