Ashford to Become Member of Association of Independent Institutions

Saints' Athletic Teams Find New Home in Independent League

Ashford University will be joining the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for the 2012-13 season and beyond. The announcement was made at halftime of the Ashford men’s basketball game against Grand View University on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Athletics Director Meg Schebler is looking forward to the transition. “We were very excited to make this announcement tonight,” she said. “We feel this is the best fit for us and for our student-athletes to continue to participate in the NAIA. We will have the same opportunities to qualify for conference and national championships as a part of the A.I.I.”

The Saints, along with Waldorf College and Iowa Wesleyan College, will no longer compete in the Midwest Collegiate Conference following the 2011-12 season. Iowa Wesleyan has announced intentions to compete as a NCAA Division III institution while Waldorf will retain its NAIA affiliation and compete as a member of the Midland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

The A.I.I. is comprised of institutions from across the United States and Canada and boasts 21 championship sports. The Saints will continue to compete in 17 sports starting this fall. In addition, Ashford’s teams will still be able to qualify for NAIA National Championships.

Schebler said that the process of finding a new conference took about nine months to really determine the best fit. “We feel we were very diligent about weighing our options before deciding to join the A.I.I. While we know there will be some challenges with participation in an independent league, our coaches have done a great job in building the schedules for 2012-13. We feel we are positioned well for reaching the goals of our athletic department.”

Ashford will officially become a member of the new league on July 1, 2012.

Additional information on Ashford’s move to the A.I.I. can be found at the following link:

More about the Association of Independent Institutions is available at


About Ashford University

Ashford University is defining the modern college experience by combining the heritage of a traditional campus with the flexibility and effectiveness of online learning. The University provides a vibrant learning community where high-quality programs and leading-edge technology create a dynamic, immersive and stimulating learning experience. Ashford University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association ( The University offers practical and progressive associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs online, as well as bachelor’s degree programs at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. Ashford University – where heritage meets innovation. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.