Sunday, March 29, 2009

Is Menlo exploring Division II?

This rumor has been floated on the GNAC posting board over at and actually originates from the fine folks at and here is the quote:

We've just learned that Menlo College is looking for DII affiliation as early as 2010-11. It appears they are reaching out specifically to the GNAC, but their inquiries have been more general in nature. Menlo is currently a DIII/NAIA dual affiliate; they are going to compete at the NAIA only level until the possibility exists for them to move into DII. They stated that in order to leave their current DIII football conference that they would need to secure scheduling partners starting in 2010.

After I spit my coffee on my keyboard in a sudden fit of laughter I settled down and started to think why the heck Menlo would be exploring a jump to Division II. This doesn’t solve Menlo's problem of travel for their football program and in fact would cause even more expense with the needed dollars Menlo would have to come up with to build scholarships to be competitive with the DII schools. It doesn’t make sense but this is what I’m reading between the lines.

There are two things going on right now that may have piqued Menlo’s interest. The California NAIA conference Menlo is part for all their other sports (California Pacific Conference) has two members (Cal State-East Bay and Dominican University) that will be moving to Division II starting next fall with Cal State-East Bay applying to the California Collegiate Athletic Association and with Dominican University being a member of the Pacific West Conference.

The catch is that the CCAA won’t accept private schools and that would leave the Pacific West Confernece which is spread out between California (3 schools), Utah (1-School), Arizona (1-School), and Hawaii (4-Schools). So not only will football still have to fly all over the Pacific Northwest, but they will have to raise scholarships dollars for not only football but all sports, and instead of having a California local conference to play in, the Oaks are going to have to spend huge dollars on flying all their other sports to the islands on the regular.

The only thing I can think of why Menlo is exploring DII is that they are afraid of what might happen if the Pacific Boxers bring back football. Does Menlo think that the NWC will dump them once the Boxers are back and the NWC wouldn’t lose the auto-bid if they sent Menlo back to the DIII Indy ranks? I believe that a couple of NWC members have desires to get rid of Menlo due to their admission standards not residing in the same neighborhood as the other NWC members and these members see that as a major advantage. The NWC invitation to Menlo was one born out of necessity for the conference to get the auto-bid and it never would have been extended otherwise. So if Pacific does come back is Menlo trying to find an alternative to being a DIII independent once again if the NWC rolls on them? I don’t think it’s a very good alternative but what other options would they have?

I do want to state that the above is solely my own opinion/theory. IMO, I think the majority in the NWC would want Menlo to stay if Pacific came back or not and I’m in this camp. Yeah, they have an easier time getting kids enrolled but most of the NWC schools have some great advantages over Menlo that The Oaks will never be able to overcome (Menlo competes against California JC’s, facilities, game day environments, tradition, VERY small student body, program turnover and stability, etc).

Should be a fun spring to see what develops....


do.c. said...

I say give Menlo a chance to bring itself up the what the NWC schools see themselves as being. They ARE in the shadow of Stanford. Something has to rub off.

Wildcat 11 said...

I just hope the NWC is active in maintaining a strong relationship with the Oaks. I just don't see DII in being a viable option for that college.