Embry-Riddle Accepts Invitation to Join Sunshine State Conference

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Application For NCAA Division II Membership To Be Submitted February 2014

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has officially accepted an invitation to join the NCAA Division II Sunshine State Conference (SSC), potentially taking on nine other Florida-based universities in a conference that boasts 84 national titles and is the No. 1 ranked conference in Division II for academic success rate.

“We are pleased to be invited to join the Sunshine State Conference. With ERAU’s strong history of academic excellence and record of significant achievement in athletics, we feel that the Conference would be a good fit for us,” said Embry-Riddle President Dr. John P. Johnson. “We are excited about the opportunity and new challenges inherent in joining the SSC Conference and NCAA membership.”

The invitation is contingent upon Embry-Riddle being admitted into the NCAA’s membership process, which begins with a Feb. 1, 2014 deadline for application. The NCAA Division II Membership Committee is expected to announce final decisions in July. If accepted, Embry-Riddle would then enter year-one candidacy during the 2014-2015 season with eligibility for NCAA postseason play beginning in fall of 2017.

Embry-Riddle currently is a long-standing member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and The Sun Conference. Embry-Riddle has finished in the top 15 in the NAIA Director’s Cup for 12 straight seasons, has claimed 14 consecutive Sun Conference Commissioner’s Cups, has earned two team national titles in men’s basketball (2000) and men’s tennis (2013), and has two dozen individual national championships for student-athletes in men’s and women’s tennis and track & field.

“Being part of NAIA for more than 25 years is something we are extremely proud of. The relationship our university has had with the NAIA and the student-athlete experience has been special. This transition to NCAA Division II is the natural next step for our university as we continue to grow academically and athletically,” said Embry-Riddle Athletic Director Steve Ridder. “This potential acceptance into the NCAA and the Sunshine State Conference aligns with where we’re going as a university moving forward. The SSC’s record for academic excellence, their numerous national titles, along with their commitment to the NCAA’s Life in the Balance program exemplifies Embry-Riddle’s philosophy of developing the Student-Person-Player.”

With nine private universities currently comprising the Florida-based SSC, Embry-Riddle could compete with Rollins College, St. Leo University, University of Tampa, Eckerd College, Florida Southern College, Barry University, Florida Institute of Technology, Lynn University and Nova Southeastern University. Former SSC student-athletes include Lou Piniella, Rocco Mediate, Tim Wakefield, Brett Tomko, Lee Janzen, Jeff Leonard, Tino Martinez and many others.

“The Sunshine State Conference is thrilled to offer provisional membership to Embry-Riddle. Our presidents and athletic leadership believe that Embry-Riddle brings a great blend of academic and athletic success that fits perfectly within the SSC and NCAA Division II model,” said Sunshine State Conference Commissioner Jay Jones. “We look forward to working with Embry-Riddle through this membership transition and know that the institution will help strengthen our conference's proud legacy.”

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 40 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit http://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and http://www.facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.


University Media Contact:
Melanie Hanns
Director, University Public Relations
University Communications & Marketing Dept.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Office: (386) 226-7538

Embry-Riddle Athletics Media Contact:
Alison Smalling
Sports Information Director
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach Campus
Office: (386) 323-5001

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Melanie Hanns, Director of University Communications
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
+1 (386) 226-7538
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