PacWest adds Dominican University of California as 9th conference program

PacWest invites Dominican University of California to become its 9th member

SAN RAFAEL, CA - The Pacific West Conference has extended an invitation to Dominican University of California in San Rafael, CA, to become the league's ninth member institution.

PacWest Commissioner Bob Hogue made the announcement on Thursday, June 12, bringing the total number of conference schools from the San Francisco area to three.

The addition comes just a few months after the PacWest welcomed the Academy of Art University in San Francisco to the league. Both schools met the June 1,2008, application deadline to apply for NCAA Division II status.

"The Pacific West Conference is delighted and thrilled to welcome such a prestigious university as Dominican," Hogue said. "Our conference is growing and Dominican will be a valuable addition."

The following institutions now comprise the PacWest: Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA), Brigham Young University Hawaii, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Dixie State College of Utah, Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, AZ), Hawai‘i Pacific University, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, and Notre Dame de Namur University (Belmont, CA).

"Dominican's proximity to both NDNU and the Academy of Art University helps balance the league in terms of scheduling," Hogue explained. "Travel partners are now more geographically feasible with four schools in Hawai‘i, three schools in the Bay Area, and two schools in the Southwest - Dixie State College and Grand Canyon."

Dominican will join the PacWest for 2008-09 as an independent before playing a full PacWest Conference schedule in 2009-10.

The addition of Dominican provides the PacWest with additional exposure in a major metropolitan area. With three teams located in the greater San Francisco area, one in Phoenix and two in Honolulu, six of the conference's nine institutions are located in major media markets.

Known as the Penguins, Dominican University of California will initially sponsor eight of the 11 PacWest sports, including five women's athletic teams and three men's sports. The university will offer compete in the conference in the following programs:

  • Basketball (Men and Women)
  • Golf (Men)
  • Soccer (Men and Women)
  • Softball
  • Tennis (Women)
  • Volleyball (Women)

The PacWest also sponsors men's and women's cross country and baseball, while Dominican competes in the non-PacWest sports of men's lacrosse and women's golf.

The Penguins will make their NCAA Division II debut against NDNU in the fall of 2009. The women's volleyball team will play the Argos on September 17, while the men's and women's soccer teams will battle on September 19.

The move to the NCAA Division II level will bring greater exposure to Dominican athletics outside the San Francisco Bay Area, according to Ian Tonks, Dominican's associate vice president of athletics.

Dominican is currently is a Division II member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and competes in the California Pacific Conference.

"The NCAA Division II Pacific West Conference is the natural next level of athletic competition for Dominican's student-athletes," Tonks explained. "It requires a high level of athletic competition and will expose Dominican's student-athletes to a wide range of teams from all over the United States through both conference play and, eventually, participation in championship events."

In recent years the Penguins have enjoyed success in the athletic arena by winning 20 Cal Pac Conference Championships, one NAIA Region II title, and a National Small College Championship. Dominican has made nine NAIA Region II and seven NAIA Division II National Tournament appearances in the process.

Earlier this year, the men's basketball team won the California Pacific Championship for the fifth time in six seasons. In 2007, both the women's soccer and volleyball teams were California Pacific Conference Co-Champions.

"Dominican teams already have a rich wining tradition," Hogue said. "Dominican has an established program in the NAIA, and it will be a smooth transition into NCAA Division II competition."

Academic honors are also an important part of Domincan's well-rounded student-athletes. In the past three years, more than 35 Dominican athletes have been named NAIA Scholar-Athletes.

"Judging by the academic success of Dominican's student-athletes, the university will be a contender for our Athletic Achievement award," Hogue added. "The NCAA II puts a great emphasis on academics as well as athletics."

Transactions - Pacific West Conference adds Dominican University of California