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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The McMurry University athletics program has moved one step closer toward its goal of full NCAA Division II membership. Today, the National Collegiate Athletic Association notified the War Hawks’ administration that the University has been approved for Candidacy Year 2 in the three-step membership process for Division II.

McMurry University will officially begin Candidacy Year 2 on September 1, 2013.

McMurry Director of Athletics Ron Holmes – who has been a part of the McM fabric for nearly 40 years as a student-athlete, coach and administrator – received the notification from the NCAA via e-mail on Friday. It culminated a portion of the process, which was without a doubt, a major hurdle.

“We are obviously very please to have been approved for the second year of the membership process,” Holmes stated. “I knew in my heart that we did all that was asked of us – everything the NCAA required – and felt very confident. But like anything, until you actually receive that ‘green light’ you never truly feel like you can take a breath.

“The past year was a real ‘stress test’ on our department and everyone responded like champions. Everyone played a role – in one way or another – in helping us get to this point.

“People need to remember that we made the relatively unusual step of going from NCAA III – where there are no athletic scholarships – to NCAA II. The majority of other schools in this process were NAIA schools, where scholarships were already offered.”

The Candidacy Year 1 saw McMurry charged with implementing several new or refined processes, both in practice and in print. The NCAA monitored the school’s progress over the past 12 months before issuing the recommendation of advancement for McMurry.

Candidacy Year 2 will present further goals and markers that the University will be required to achieve. If all remains on track, McMurry University’s “Provisional Year” – the final step before being granted full NCAA II membership – would be 2014-15.

Holmes summarized what lies ahead for the War Hawks’ program. “It is both exciting and challenging at the same time. We brought together a great cross-section of the campus community to get this far. While everyone certainly gets a well-deserved pat-on-the-back right now, we have to all remain focused and support each other as we forge ahead through Candidacy Year 2. When this process is completed, everyone involved is going to be able to look back and realize that they were an integral part of an important step in the history of McMurry University athletics.”