The NCAA Division III Membership Committee has granted Dean College active Division III membership status effective September 1, 2020.
The membership provides the Bulldogs’ 16 athletic programs immediate eligibility for NCAA postseason championships, full NCAA member voting privileges, and access to all NCAA opportunities, awards, and recognition.
Dean College President Dr. Paula M. Rooney noted, "Dean College’s membership in NCAA Division III will advance the mission, values, and vision of athletics at Dean College and will provide a significant opportunity for our student-athletes. I'm proud that the reputation and integrity of our programs have prepared us to be accepted into this highly competitive division of collegiate sports. I applaud our student-athletes, coaches, and athletic leadership for all that they have accomplished and look forward to our bright future as we expand our athletic endeavors and promote The Dean Difference."
In February 2015, the Dean College Board of Trustees approved an NCAA membership process which began play with the 2016-17 exploratory year. This was followed by the NCAA-mandated provisional membership process, where Dean College was permitted to waive one year of the four-year participation requirement, during which time NCAA regulations did not allow for NCAA postseason qualification and competition.
“We are very excited and proud to officially become members of NCAA Division III," commented Director of Athletics George Martin. “Led by President Rooney and Chief of Staff Sandra Cain, this achievement was accomplished based on the hard work and dedication of many people for more than five years to obtain NCAA Division III membership. I am thankful for our coaches, administrators, faculty, staff, and alumni who have served and supported our student-athletes. I applaud the dedication of our student-athletes and am excited that they will now have an opportunity to compete for NCAA Championships. I am confident that we will continue to provide an exceptional college experience for our student-athletes and enhance our ability to attract future students to our campus."
In Fall 2016, the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) welcomed Dean College as a conference member for all sports except football, which began play in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) in Fall 2017. The Bulldogs’ athletic programs began scheduled competition as NECC and ECFC members although unable to secure berths in the NCAA team championships due to provisional membership rules regarding automatic qualifier (AQ) postseason bids. During these interim years, Dean College participated in numerous United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) national championship events.
In Fall 2020, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) will add Dean College as its newest full core member institution when the Bulldogs begin play in the 2020-2021 academic year.
Kevin Anderson, Assistant Director of Athletics, Director of Compliance and Sports Information stated, "It is an honor to be part of this exciting time for the Dean College Bulldogs. NCAA Division III membership will provide opportunities for our student-athletes on the field and in the classroom. I look forward to supporting our student-athletes in recognizing their potential and experiencing competition at the highest level that Division III provides."
NCAA Division III is the largest division within the NCAA, with nearly 450 institutions across the nation. This comprises close to 40% of the total NCAA membership. NCAA student-athletes have access to a myriad of resources beyond athletics and the classroom, as well as a voice in discussions through Student-Athlete Advisory Committee activities on campus, regionally and nationally.