Oklahoma Christian advances to 3rd year of NCAA membership process

OC is one of three Heartland Conference schools to advance in the NCAA Division II membership process.
OC is one of three Heartland Conference schools to advance in the NCAA Division II membership process.

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 11, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian University has advanced into the third and final year of the three-year NCAA Division II membership process, the national organization said Friday.

As of Sept. 1, OC will be considered a provisional NCAA Division II member and if all goes well, the university could be a full member by the 2015-16 academic year.

"We are gratified that the NCAA Division II membership committee has approved Oklahoma Christian's move into the provisional membership stage,” OC President John deSteiguer said. “We have worked hard to develop a quality athletic program that will be able to compete at the Division II level while remaining true to our ideals as a Christian institution.

“We take seriously the belief that our student-athletes are, indeed, students first. We believe that OC and the NCAA are a great match and we look forward to working during the next year toward our goal of becoming a full NCAA member."

After examining an extensive report prepared by the university, the NCAA’s Division II membership committee determined that during 2013-14, OC successfully served what is called Candidacy Year Two, during which time the university continued work on developing stringent organizational processes to become NCAA-ready and had to follow all NCAA rules and regulations.

During 2014-15, OC will be in year three of the membership process, which is traditionally known as the “provisional year,” after which a university could gain full NCAA membership and become eligible to compete for NCAA Division II championships.

The Division II membership committee annually determines if an institution should be moved forward into the next candidacy year and it can require an institution to repeat a year if progress is not sufficient.

"I'm very proud of our coaches and staff, who worked very hard this past year to not only understand NCAA rules and regulations but implement them as well into our everyday operations,” OC Athletic Director Curtis Janz said. “Oklahoma Christian has a culture of striving for excellence. This process has pushed us to evaluate how we do things and dedicate ourselves to doing them in a way that we believe will make us a model NCAA Division II program in the future.

“We are pouring the foundation. It was a challenging year, yet we were diligent and professional in every endeavor and it has paid off with the NCAA's decision to approve Oklahoma Christian for provisional membership. We're excited to have our name linked with the NCAA brand, and I think we'll see more inspired efforts throughout the coming years."

During the 2012-13 academic year, OC began competing as a member of the Heartland Conference, a Division II league with 11 member schools in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas. Two other Heartland schools also advanced in the Division II membership process – Lubbock Christian (Texas) to the third year and Rogers State to the second year. Former Heartland member McMurry (Texas) withdrew from the process earlier this year and is returning to NCAA Division III.

The membership committee's decisions will be reviewed by the NCAA Division II Management Council as part of its regular process during its July 21-22 meeting. If no further action is taken at that time, the membership changes will take effect Sept. 1.

In addition to moving forward with the NCAA membership process, OC will continue to compete as a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association, which provides postseason opportunities for OC’s student-athletes. During the 2013-14 academic year, OC finished second in the NCCAA in softball, third in women’s golf, fourth in the NCCAA in men’s cross country and men’s golf, fifth in women’s basketball and eighth in baseball and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field.

During 2012-13, in its first year as an NCCAA member, OC won national titles in men’s cross country and men’s golf, was the runner-up in women’s golf and men’s basketball and finished fourth in women’s basketball and men’s indoor track and field.

OC offers varsity programs in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field.

Founded in 1906, the NCAA oversees 88 championships in 23 sports. There are more than 400,000 student-athletes competing in three divisions at more than 1,000 colleges and universities within the NCAA, including more than 300 in Division II. In Oklahoma, 12 universities – including OC – either are full members of or seeking membership in Division II. The average enrollment of Division II schools is about 4,200 students.