Grand Canyon played key role in expanding and advancing the Pacific West Conference

The PacWest NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - The Pacific West Conference will remain the largest NCAA Division II athletic conference in the West Region despite Grand Canyon University’s scheduled departure following the 2012-13 academic year.

On Nov. 27, Grand Canyon received an invitation to become part of the Western Athletic Conference and hopefully join the ranks of NCAA Division I institutions.

GCU accepted the invitation and expects to begin the transition on July 1, 2013, after completing its final season of Division II competition this year.

 “Grand Canyon University always has been clear about its intention of becoming an NCAA Division I program,” PacWest Commissioner Bob Hogue stated. “So while we are disappointed to lose GCU, we are not surprised. Our presidents have formulated an official response to Grand Canyon University’s request to move to Division I after this year and we expect a positive transition.”

In 2006-07, Grand Canyon rejoined the PacWest as the league reorganized with four schools in Hawai‘i, one-time NAIA institution Notre Dame de Namur, and former two-year institution Dixie State College of Utah.

Six years later the PacWest has exploded into a strong, diverse conference with colleges and universities extending across four time zones from Hawai‘i to Utah.

Since beginning with seven schools in 2006-07, the PacWest has doubled in size to 14 institutions this year without adding teams that are currently part of other NCAA conferences.

The PacWest has grown by inviting schools transitioning from two-year or NAIA status to the NCAA Division II level, or by inviting an institution that is starting athletics.

The PacWest expects to have 13 member institutions in 2013-14.

“Our vision is to be the premier and most diverse NCAA Division II Conference, and we are well on our way,” Hogue said. “We wish GCU the best of luck and thank them for helping bring the PacWest to where it is today.”