Edward Waters joins the NCAA for the first time in its 155 year history and officially returns to the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) after nearly a century hiatus.
Jacksonville, Florida – For the first time in its 155-year history, Edward Waters University (EWU) has become a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The exciting news chronicling EWU’s inclusion as a new member of America’s premiere collegiate athletic association at the Division II level was shared during a university press conference Monday afternoon.
Relatedly, EWU has also officially accepted an invitation to become a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) after an 86-year separation. Edward Waters was previously a member of the SIAC from 1930-1935. Notably, Monday’s historic announcement distinctively marks Edward Waters University as the only NCAA Division II Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the State of Florida.
“This incredibly significant achievement is yet another important milestone in our continued ascendancy and transformation towards becoming one of America’s “best-in-class” higher educational institutions of choice,” said EWU President and CEO, Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr. “Today’s announcement is demonstrable evidence of our progress in realizing our Eminence 2025 strategic vision and aim towards advancing our overall institutional brand and comprehensively raising our collective competitive profile through the platform of athletics,” Dr. Faison said. “This is a truly watershed moment for our entire university community, athletics program and our dynamic student-athletes.”
As a new NCAA Division II member, Edward Waters will begin the first year of a three-year provisional process in August. When all benchmarks are met, the University will be eligible for full membership in the NCAA in August of 2024. Nevertheless, the recent announcement and acceptance of EWU by the NCAA into the NCAA transitional process affords the university and its student-athletes the ability to compete at the NCAA Division II level in all sports effective immediately (i.e., Fall 2021).
“Our diligent work in this process has brought us to this historic moment in the long and storied history of EWU Athletics,” remarked Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Paul A. Bryant. “We are overjoyed to be accepted as a provisional member of the NCAA Division II and even more so excited to be returning home to the SIAC.” “The opportunities for success for our athletic programs are endless and we look forward to working with and competing against such storied programs in the conference.”
The addition of Edward Waters will increase the SIAC’s membership to 15 institutions. The conference’s current membership includes Albany State University, Allen University, Benedict College, Central State University, Clark Atlanta University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Lane College, LeMoyne-Owen College, Miles College, Morehouse College, Savannah State University, Spring Hill College, and Tuskegee University.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome back Edward Waters University as a member institution of the SIAC and congratulate President Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., Athletic Director Paul Bryant and the entire EWU community as they make their transition into NCAA membership.”
The SIAC sponsors 14 championship sports, including six women’s sports (Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, and Volleyball) and eight men’s sports (Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Tennis, Track & Field, and Volleyball).
As the second oldest historically black college and university athletic conference, the SIAC has one of the most storied histories in all of the NCAA. Many of the conference’s former athletes and coaches have transcended to larger-than-life characters that continue to be monumental in the world of sports. Furthermore, the chronicles of many SIAC programs have been vital to the foundation of American society.
The SIAC has a rich history on the gridiron, as some of the biggest names in college and professional sports began their careers in the conference. Headlining the list are Pro Football Hall of Famers “Bullet” Bob Hayes (Florida A&M), David “Deacon” Jones (South Carolina State), Larry Little (Bethune-Cookman), Shannon Sharpe (Savannah State), John Stallworth (Alabama A&M) and Rayfield Wright (Fort Valley State). Overall, the conference has produced more than 300 NFL players.
About Edward Waters University
Edward Waters University (EWU), accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), is a private, historically black, urban college which offers a liberal arts education with a strong emphasis on the Christian principles of high moral and spiritual values. EWU was established in 1866 and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church-related institution of learning. It is the first private institution of higher education in the State of Florida.
About the SIAC
The SIAC is a NCAA athletic conference consisting primarily of historically black colleges and universities with headquarters in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The SIAC includes 15 member institutions (Albany State University, Allen University, Benedict College, Central State University, Clark Atlanta University, Edward Waters University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Lane College, LeMoyne-Owen College, Miles College, Morehouse College, Savannah State University, Spring Hill College, and Tuskegee University), which are located within a contiguous six-state footprint (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Ohio). The SIAC sponsors seven men’s and six women’s sports and is a proud member of the NCAA Division II. For more information, visit www.thesiac.com.
About The NCAA Division II
“The NCAA, the national governing body for college athletics, is a volunteer association of more than 1,000 colleges and universities that classify their athletics programs in one of three membership divisions. The 300+ institutions in NCAA Division II support a balanced approach in which student-athletes have the opportunity to earn scholarships based on their athletic ability, pursue their desired academic degree, and participate in all the campus and surrounding community have to offer. Division II student-athletes annually graduate at rates higher than their student body peers, and they have access to the best championships-participant ratio among the NCAA’s three divisions. Division II gives student-athletes the unique opportunity to compete in the classroom, on the field, in their career, for their causes, and on their terms. For additional information, visit NCAA.org.”