INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA is on the verge of going international.
By supporting a change in constitutional language, the NCAA's Executive Committee paved the way for Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, to become the first member from outside the U.S. to join America's largest college sports governing body.
All it will take now is a vote from the Division II President's Council next Thursday. If approved, Simon Fraser could be playing games as of Sept. 1 as an NCAA member.
It's the first time since the NCAA adopted a 10-year pilot program for Canadian schools that a university has moved this close to full NCAA membership.
The move will expand membership, provide more dues money to the NCAA, pave the way for more international schools to join the organization and allows the NCAA to extend its reach beyond the American borders -- as Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL have already done.
The Executive Committee voted Wednesday to include Mexican schools for NCAA consideration, too. The expansion to Mexico could begin as early next year if the Division II presidents approve the proposal next week.
The holdup has been accreditation.
Current rules require all NCAA schools to be accredited by a U.S. agency.
Division II presidents want the language changed to also include schools in good standing in their own nation's accreditation program and has applied to one of six American accreditation agencies for approval in the U.S. The Executive Committee voted to support the change.