Concordia-Portland to join GNAC

Beth Bragg

The Seawolves are getting a new playmate, as long as the NCAA approves.

Concordia University-Portland is expected to join UAA and UAF in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in the fall of 2015, turning the GNAC into an 11-team NCAA Division II league.

The conference unanimously voted to extend membership to Concordia, which currently compete at the NAIA level. If accepted by the NCAA, Concordia would join the league in two years and be eligible for postseason play in 2017-18.

The NCAA should make a decision regarding Concordia's acceptance by next summer.

If all goes as planned, Concordia would become the second Oregon school in the league, joining Western Oregon. GNAC headquarters are also in Oregon.

The GNAC has teams in five states and one Canadian province. The Canadian team, Simon Fraser of British Columbia, joined the GNAC in 2010. It was the first Canadian school admitted to the NCAA.

Concordia competes in 15 of the 16 sports contested in the GNAC -- the only sport it doesn't compete in is football.

Its soccer teams and volleyball team are ranked in the top 20 of NAIA; the women's soccer team started the week as the No. 1 team in the NAIA. In the last decade, the Cavaliers have won 55 NAIA conference titles, including at least one in each sport.

Current GNAC schools include UAA and UAF in Alaska; Central Washington, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific and Saint Martin's in Washington; Northwest Nazarene in Idaho, Montana State-Billings in Montana, Western Oregon and Simon Fraser of Burnby, B.C.