In a historic first, Simon Fraser University has been given membership into the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II.

The British Columbia university on Friday became the first non-American post-secondary institution to gain such acceptance.

American competition is nothing new for SFU — its teams not only compete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport but also the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, which is comprised of U.S. schools.

SFU will go through a two-year transition, where all of its teams will maintain their present course in the NAIA and CIS.

The teams could then begin play in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in 2011-12, where it would face schools such as Central Washington University and Seattle Pacific University.

SFU will have to make some minor adjustments when the change takes place as NCAA student athletes are allowed to play for four years while CIS students can do so for five.

New rule
NCAA student athletes are able to join teams for five years only if they “red shirt.” An athlete who red shirts takes a year off from competition but he or she still attends classes and practices with the team without seeing any game time.

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