NCAA approves Division III provisional membership for Asbury University

Asbury to follow an established timeline leading to active membership in the fall of 2024.


WILMORE, Ky.  – The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has approved Asbury University (AU) for Division III provisional membership, beginning September 1, 2021.

“This announcement is the culmination of a thorough review to determine the best missional fit for our intercollegiate athletics program,” said Asbury’s president Dr. Kevin J. Brown. “The process involved the president’s cabinet, the board of trustees, the athletics department staff, the NCAA staff and several benchmark institutions.”

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“Asbury is committed to the unique student-athlete experience provided in the NCAA Division III structure. We look forward to this exciting opportunity and are most appreciative of the guidance and support from current NCAA Division III member institutions Transylvania University and Covenant College.”

The NCAA Division III Membership Committee approved AU’s exploratory application on February 24. Once accepted into the process, Asbury submitted a subsequent application for provisional membership along with an application to waive the exploratory year. The 10-member committee determined AU met the conditions and obligations for provisional membership. This decision made Asbury the first institution to be granted the waiver to accelerate the membership process from four years to three years.

“This is a very significant step for our university and the athletics program,” said Mark Whitworth, vice president for intercollegiate athletics & university strategic communications. “We are very grateful for the opportunity to provide an experience for our student-athletes, coaches and support staff that aligns with our academic and missional values. I am incredibly thankful for the hard work of many in our campus community, particularly our athletics leadership team.”

Asbury becomes the fifth NCAA Division III institution in Kentucky, joining Centre College, Transylvania University, Berea College, and Spalding University.

During the three-year process, Asbury will work closely with the NCAA membership committee and the NCAA staff to follow an established timeline leading to active membership in the fall of 2024. As a provisional member, AU is permitted to play an NCAA Division III regular season schedule but will not be eligible to compete in any NCAA postseason competition.

Asbury is also a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and will compete in its postseason championships beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.

Division III is the largest division within the NCAA, with nearly 450 institutions across the nation.  This comprises nearly 40% of the total NCAA membership. NCAA student-athletes have access to a variety 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.

Asbury sponsors 16 intercollegiate sports, as well as cheerleading, representing more than 360 student-athletes. These student-athletes earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.43 during the 2020 fall semester. Men’s sports include: baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and tennis. Women’s sports include: basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

At the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic year, AU will transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the River States Conference (RSC) and the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC).

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas