OC to Apply for NCAA Division II Membership On the Horizon
Oklahoma Christian will apply for membership in NCAA Division II this June.
The university also has been accepted into the Heartland Conference, pending approval of the application by the NCAA, and will play a full Heartland Conference schedule in 2012-13.
“Oklahoma Christian has a long and storied athletic tradition,” OC president-elect John deSteiguer said. “We’ve been very successful in the NAIA through the years. Now it’s time for OC to apply for membership in NCAA Division II. It’s the best thing for our student-athletes, our coaches and our fans.”
OC has been in the NAIA since the 1960s and has been a member of the Sooner Athletic Conference since its creation more than 30 years ago, but changes in the NAIA, along with the university’s growth, have led OC to re-evaluate its affiliations.
Since 2006, OC has been engaged in a comprehensive study regarding national affiliation.
Led by Athletic Director Curtis Janz (86) and overseen by President Mike O’Neal (68), the President’s Advisory Council and the university’s Board of Trustees, this has been a comprehensive study of the university’s athletic programs, institutional framework and long-term strategy and fit.
This process has included OC’s senior administrators, staff, faculty, students, alumni, boosters and community neighbors.
The university determined its strategic values and long-term vision are more closely aligned with those of NCAA Division II.
OC already is functioning on an NCAA Division II level in terms of budget, staffing, sports sponsorship, scholarship support, academic standards, rules and governance, marketing, competitive success, student experience and other factors.
OC finished eighth among NAIA institutions in the NACDA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup all-sports standings during the 2009-10 school year and was 10th in 2010-11. OC’s student-athletes also combined for a 3.2 grade point average in 2010-11.
The university has won all four of its team national championships in the past decade, including two in the last year: men’s tennis (2003); men’s golf (2009 and 2011); and men’s cross country (2011).
The Heartland Conference consists of Dallas Baptist University in Dallas; Newman University in Wichita, Kan.; Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell; St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas; St. Mary’s University in San Antonio; Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas; the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, the University of Texas-Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas; and McMurry University in Abilene, Texas.
View more stories from the Spring 2012 issue of Vision magazine.