Lincoln University is less than two months away from becoming an official NCAA Division II program.
The NCAA is expected to made a formal announcement Tuesday about the Lions’ approval for active status effective Sept. 1. The acceptance concludes Lincoln’s three-year transition from Division III to Division II.
As a result, the Lions will once again become full members of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
“Us going to Division II means a lot to our student athletes,” Lincoln football coach O.J. Abanishe said.
Lincoln, one of the nation’s top historically black colleges, was founded in 1854. The southern Chester County school’s graduates include poet Langston Hughes and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
The Lions were among the founding members of the CIAA in 1912. But Lincoln left the conference when it dropped football following the 1960 season. The school reestablished its football program in 2008 to enhance student life, attract interest from alumni, and get the word out to high school students and their parents about the institution.
“The conference is excited to welcome home one of our founding institutions,” CIAA commissioner Leon Kerry said in a statement.
This move will mark the Lions’ first conference affiliation since 1992-93, when they were members of Division III’s Eastern State Athletic Conference. The men and women’s soccer teams will compete as an independent on the Division II level because the CIAA does not sponsor soccer.
“This is a great moment in Lincoln University’s rich athletic history,” Lincoln athletic director Dianthia Ford-Kee said. “I am proud to have played a part in this transition.
“My staff and I are excited about the opportunities that our student-athletes will embark upon as an active NCAA Division II member as well as the official return to the CIAA. Many thanks to the NCAA Division II membership committee and its representatives for the guidance and support provided throughout the transition.”