Beginning with the 2017-18 season, 16 sports teams will leave the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to join the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and compete within Division III as part of the USA South Athletic Conference. The Mountaineers had competed in the NAIA since 1926.
“In many ways, this is a new era for Berea College athletics,” Athletics Director Mark Cartmill said in 2014 when Berea was invited to join the NCAA. “But it’s also a return to what we believe is most important in intercollegiate athletics…campus pride, a tradition of success and a commitment to academics, first and foremost. Berea has a long and storied history in athletics and we look forward to forging new friendships and renewing some old ones with NCAA Division III schools.”
Berea fields eight men’s teams (baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, soccer and tennis) and eight women’s teams (basketball, cross country, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball). Its 16 athletic teams join more than 170,000 athletes at 444 institutions who compete in Division III – the largest of the NCAA’s three divisions. Berea will compete in Division III against four former Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools: Centre College, Spalding University, Thomas More College and Transylvania University.
With its new NCAA membership, Berea College hopes to add to its 36 All-Americans and 69 Academic All-Americans. The school also has the distinction of hosting the state’s first racially integrated college basketball game. Irvin Shanks suited up for the Mountaineers on February 6, 1954.
To learn more about Berea College’s athletic programming, visit bereaathletics.com.