FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Council of President’s Approve Carroll College, Rocky Mountain College and University of Great Falls for Associate Membership
LA GRANDE, Ore., February 8, 2015 – The Cascade Collegiate Conference announced today that the Council of President’s have approved Associate Membership applications from Carroll College, Rocky Mountain College and the University of Great Falls in the sports of men’s and women’s soccer and softball.
The new members will begin competing in the CCC in soccer fall of 2015 and in softball (Carroll and UGF) spring of 2016. The three schools will continue to compete in the Frontier Conference in all other sports. Carroll is located in Helena, Montana, RMC in Billings, Montana and UGF in Great Falls, Montana.
“This is an exciting time for our conference,” stated Commissioner Rob Cashell. “The addition of these schools in the sports of soccer and softball enhance our already strong institutions and programs, as well as, continue to develop the CCC as a leading entity in the Pacific Northwest and the NAIA for intercollegiate athletics.”
The move comes less than a year after legislation was introduced and passed at the NAIA National Convention allowing for per-sport membership in another conference if your home conference does not sponsor enough programs to reach the threshold for an automatic post- season berth. The legislation was sponsored by the CCC Council of President’s.
"We are excited to welcome Carroll College, Rocky Mountain College and the University of Great Falls as Associate Members of the Cascade Collegiate Conference,” stated CCC Council of President’s Chair and Oregon Institute of Technology President Dr. Chris Maples. “The additional post-season opportunities for collective member universities and colleges, along with expansion of the CCC footprint in the Northwest, demonstrate our commitment to the CCC and the NAIA. We are grateful to Conference Commissioner Robert Cashell and all of our CCC athletic directors for their dedication and hard work to provide a pathway for Associate Membership."
With the additional schools the CCC anticipates having 14 men’s soccer teams, 12 women’s soccer teams and 10 softball teams. The number of teams competing also increases the number of automatic qualifiers to the NAIA national tournaments from one to two in each sport.
“This decision has not only elevated the programs at our three schools, it has elevated the NAIA and most importantly the experience our student athletes will receive,” stated Rocky Mountain President Bob Wilmouth.
Associate membership had been allowed in football only prior to this new legislation. Three CCC schools that sponsor football, The College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon University and Southern Oregon University are members of the Frontier Conference in football.
"Carroll College is excited to participate in the sports of softball and soccer alongside our colleagues in the Cascade Conference, “added President Tom Evans. “ We are grateful to the presidents of the Cascade Conference for their votes to include Carroll College and other Frontier Conference schools as associate members in these sports. It is another example of how the Frontier and Cascade Conferences can work together to provide the best athletic experience for our students by ensuring that they can play their schedules closer to home in Montana and the Northwest, experience better opportunities for post season play and compete against schools with similar enrollments and missions. I believe that both of our conferences and the entire NAIA are stronger as a result of this decision."
Last summer the CCC admitted Walla Walla University and Multnomah University as new full- members. Both are scheduled to begin conference play fall of 2015. Multnomah is awaiting approval of their NAIA application which will be determined at the April convention.
With the additions, the CCC will have schools representing Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana as member institutions.
Formed in 1993 as an NAIA-affiliated conference, the Cascade Collegiate Conference has evolved into one of the NAIA's most formidable leagues. The CCC sanctions championship competition for men and women in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, track and field, along with baseball for men, and softball and volleyball for women.