Thank you for your interest in Abilene Christian University and our new affiliation with NCAA Division I athletics in the Southland Conference.
ACU's academic quality and strong national reputation will further build the prestige of the Southland Conference
Abilene Christian is an acknowledged leader in higher education, ranked by experts as one of "America's Best Colleges," saluted for its innovation and well-regarded for its quality academic programs. Wildcat student-athletes are consistently among the most honored, academically, among their peers at colleges and universities in the NCAA, and ACU's alumni are respected in professions and fields of study around the world.
ACU's financial strength creates stability
We have an institutional endowment of nearly $300 million and an athletics endowment of more than $9 million, both major contributors to financial stability in these uncertain financial times. Abilene Christian is not immune to the challenges of today's economy, but has been blessed with talented students, wise stewards who manage our resources, and the support of our more than 86,000 alumni.
ACU is ready for Division I athletics
There is broad institutional support for athletics on our campus, and we have a strong understanding of what is required for a successful transition to NCAA Division I. We have led a comprehensive assessment process, including interviews with representatives of other institutions and campus visits. We have engaged our campus in discussion about the benefits of Division I affiliation, have donor and alumni support, and have concluded that Division I is simply a better academic fit for our mission, 21st-Century Vision and position in the market.
ACU has a strong historical commitment to athletics
Abilene Christian was founded in 1906 and athletics have been a strong thread in the fabric of our university. In the 1950s, the successes of student-athletes such as Bobby Morrow and coaches such as Oliver Jackson put our institution on the map. Today, ACU is the only NCAA Division II university to never finish outside the top 15 in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup rankings. In the NCAA, only three institutions - UCLA, Stanford and USC - have won more team national championships than the Wildcats.
ACU is committed to excellence in athletics
More than 400 student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports, bringing vitality to our institutional mission and a culture of winning to campus. In 1999, Texas Monthly named ACU's track and field program the Texas Sports Dynasty of the Century. Thirty-two Wildcat track and field student-athletes have competed in the Olympic Games. Byron Nelson and Nolan Ryan - neither of whom attended ACU - used their names and influence to help establish ACU's nationally ranked golf and baseball programs in recent years. Our women's tennis team has won 88 consecutive Lone Star Conference matches; they haven't lost to a conference opponent since the 2011 seniors were in second grade. Our men's track and field team won the 2011 NCAA indoor championship with only four student-athletes competing, and our football program has sent more players to the NFL in recent years than many major universities. We call ACU a place "Where Champions Are Made," and with good reason.
ACU's history has roots in NCAA Division I and the Southland
ACU was a founding member of the Southland Conference, competing successfully with several of today's current representatives from 1963-72. Names of outstanding Wildcat student-athletes and teams are still prominent in Southland conference record books. A return to the Southland will be a great fit for our institution and its students, and the conference.
We have considered seriously, strategically and prayerfully the opportunity to change NCAA affiliations and conferences. We are ready to be the best partner we can be to the Southland Conference in years to come.
Phil Schubert, Ph.D.