The Edmond Sun


July 13, 2012

OC accepted into NCAA Division II

3-year membership process begins this fall

EDMOND — The NCAA has approved Oklahoma Christian University’s application to start the three-year membership process for entry into Division II, the national organization said Friday.

OC Athletic Director Curtis Janz learned of the decision by the NCAA Division II membership committee in an email. If all goes well, OC could be a full NCAA Division II member by the 2015-16 academic year.

“We are honored to be given the opportunity to step into the NCAA — and we are ready to compete well,” OC President John deSteiguer said. “We are proud of our decades in the NAIA and we are thankful for the many wonderful relationships that developed on and off the fields and courts of play with our fellow competitors. We look forward to developing positive relationships with new competitors as we strive to earn full NCAA membership.”

OC will compete as a member of the Heartland Conference, a Division II league with member schools in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas. OC athletic teams will play full Heartland Conference schedules, starting with the 2012-13 academic year.

In 2012-13, OC will serve what is called Candidacy Year One with the NCAA, during which time the university will work on developing organizational processes to become NCAA-ready. If the NCAA approves, OC could advance to Candidacy Year Two for the 2013-14 academic year. During that year, the processes become more stringent and OC must follow all NCAA rules and regulations.

Year three of the membership process — potentially in 2014-15 — is traditionally known as the “provisional year,” after which OC could gain full NCAA membership. The earliest OC would be eligible to compete for NCAA Division II championships would be the 2015-16 academic year. OC soon will announce its plans to provide post-season opportunities for its student-athletes during the transition process into Division II.

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.

“We are honored that the NCAA has allowed us to pursue membership,” Janz said. “Oklahoma Christian is proud and excited to be associated with an organization like the NCAA that stands for excellence, competitive equality and diversity,” Janz said. “We see this as a new beginning and a chance to establish new, great athletic traditions.”

OC held membership in the NAIA from 1965 until the end of June and had been a member of the Sooner Athletic Conference since its creation in 1978. Changes in the composition of the NAIA, along with the growth of the university, led OC to re-evaluate its affiliations.

In 2006, OC began a community-wide discussion and study regarding national affiliation. The study, which was led by Janz after he became OC’s athletic director, was overseen by then-OC President Dr. Mike O’Neal, the President’s Advisory Council and the university’s Board of Trustees. The process consisted of a comprehensive study of the university’s athletic programs, institutional framework and long-term strategy and fit. This process included OC’s senior administrators, staff, faculty, students, alumni, boosters and community neighbors.

Through this process, the university determined its strategic values and long-term vision were 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.

In April 2011, the OC Board of Trustees approved the filing of an application for NCAA Division II affiliation. OC filed its most recent NCAA application this spring.

“We had great feelings toward the SAC and commissioner John Hudson, so we’ll certainly miss those long-standing rivalries and matchups, but joining the Heartland Conference and seeking NCAA membership will be a challenge we welcome, with new foes in new places,” said OC’s longtime men’s basketball coach, Dan Hays. “It will be fun to visit some of the cities in which the Heartland Conference teams reside. I think our fan base will really enjoy reconnecting with the old Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference teams that are now Division II, because we will play some of those schools.”

OC’s new league, the Heartland Conference, consists of the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith; Dallas Baptist University in Dallas; McMurry University in Abilene, Texas; 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; and the University of Texas-Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas.

OC’s student-athletes say they’re ready for the challenge of playing in Division II.

“I’m a little nervous but more excited to be moving to NCAA Division II,” said Carley Cave, a sophomore women’s soccer player from Edmond. “Because we will be facing opponents we haven’t played against before, it will be more competitive. I know this will require the team to put in hard work so we are prepared. I never thought I would play Division II sports. That’s an exciting thing to say.”

Added Kendre Talley, a junior men’s basketball player from Spencer who was the most valuable player in the 2012 SAC tournament: “I am really excited to be moving up a level! I have always been a competitor and some say Division II is tougher, so I am ready to take on the challenge and enjoy the experience. I think OC as a whole is also ready.”

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, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field. OC won five national team titles during its tenure in the NAIA, including two during the 2011-12 academic year — men’s cross country and men’s tennis. OC finished in the top 10 of the Learfield Sports NAIA Directors’ Cup standings each of the past three years.

Text Only
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg OPINION: Wildcats aren't champs but we're all still watching Calipari

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is a college basketball phenom for his ability to knit together championship-caliber teams of freshmen. How long will Calipari's success last as other coaches catch on?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oklahoma City FC invites fans to design club scarf

    Oklahoma’s top-tier soccer club, Oklahoma City FC, invites soccer fanatics across Oklahoma to be a part of its future by designing its scarf.
    Scarves are a tradition among soccer clubs and are typically a team’s most recognizable accessory. Scarves are a matter of pride for hard-core supporters and feature team colors, logo and inspiring slogans. Scarves are a part of a team’s identity.

    April 16, 2014

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-EN Mark Sharpton hurdles.jpg North boys win Deer Creek Invitational; Memorial girls clear 200 points

    The Edmond North boys track squad used a strong showing in the relays to roll up 178 points and outpoint host Deer Creek at the annual Deer Creek Antlers Invitational Friday at Deer Creek High School. The Antlers claimed the runner-up trophy with 158 points.
    It was more of the same in the girls division as powerful Edmond Memorial once again cracked the 200-point barrier en route a 203.7 total with North a distant second with 110 points.
    The Huskies got off to a roaring start as they won the 400 meter relay in 42.25 for 20 points shortly before Mark Sharpton, Jaylon Jones and Reagan Harris added 20 more points with a 1-3-4 finish in the 100 hurdles. Sharpton took the gold with a time of 14.75, Jones was third and Harris fourth. Harris won silver in the 300 hurdles with a time of 40:50.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-MMA Julian Learned 3.jpg Edmond mixed-martial artists raising money for bombing victims

    Nineteen years after the Oklahoma City bombing, one family says the financial loss still haunts them. Brandon and Rebecca Denny are two of only six child survivors from the American Kids Day Care on the second floor of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. After the bombing, Brandon spent several months in intensive care and a rehabilitation center before going home. He has a permanent shunt in the back of his head and now also suffers from seizures.

    April 14, 2014 5 Photos

  • spts-UCO Kalynn Schrock rock back.jpg Schrock throws perfect game again

    Kalynn Schrock was overpowering from the outset in throwing a perfect game as No. 22-ranked Central Oklahoma blanked Washburn 4-0 in the first game of a Mid-America Athletics Association doubleheader in Topeka, Kan., Saturday afternoon.
    The Ichabods rebounded in the nightcap, jumping out to an early 5-0 lead en route to a 5-3 victory that dropped the defending champion Bronchos out of the league lead. UCO is now 35-11 on the season and 19-3 in the MIAA, trailing No. 5 Emporia State (36-9, 16-2) in the standings.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-ESF Collin Place head-knocker.jpg Santa Fe blanks Midwest City; Cain, Rivas score hat trick

    The Edmond Santa Fe boys used a big second half to blank Midwest City by a 2-0 count Friday night at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
    After missing several opportunities in the first half, the seventh-ranked Wolves found the mark in the final 40 minutes for the two-goal district win.
    “We’re 3-0 in district now so you can’t ask for anything more than that,” Wolfpack coach Joe Peeler said. “Moore and Southmoore are both improved so our next games will be tough.”

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • spts-EM Byron Graham new baseball coach.jpg The unwavering Bulldog

    You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone as Edmond as Byron Graham.
    He was born in 1947 at St. Anthony’s and was soon brought home to his house on Eighth Street. He never left, except for a stint to go to college at Oklahoma State and upon graduation, he landed right back teaching in the Edmond school district.
    Monday, Graham, a longtime educator and coach in Edmond, received a call informing him that he had been selected for the Oklahoma Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. He will be inducted formally at 6:30 p.m. July 27 in the Southern Hills Marriott in Tulsa.
    “It’s quite an honor,” he said. “I was surprised because I know the high school put out some information last year and I didn’t make it. I thought it was a one-time deal and really didn’t know.”

    April 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • spts-EN Trevor Moore hands behind head.jpg North sweeps Southmoore

    Edmond North freshman Addy Guthrie assisted Abbey Bright on both goals in a 2-0 shutout of Southmoore Tuesday night at North High School.
    The triumph bumps up the Lady Huskies’ district record to 2-0.
    In boys action, the Huskies walloped the SaberCats 6-0 behind a pair of assists by senior Alex Mullet.
    Edmond North will host Moore Tuesday with the Lady Huskies kicking things off at 6 p.m.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • mfp file Hoffner Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

    The president of Minnesota State University-Mankato accused a football coach of looking at Internet porn on a work computer before firing him, an arbitrator has revealed. The official said the claim could not be supported, and the coach shouldn't have been fired.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo