Special to The Sun
Oklahoma Christian University will be allowed to move into the second year of the three-year NCAA Division II membership process, the national organization announced.
The NCAA’s announcement comes a year after it approved OC’s application to begin the Division II membership process. If all goes well, Oklahoma Christian could be a full NCAA Division II member by the 2015-16 academic year.
“Oklahoma Christian University had a great first year transitioning into the NCAA — both on the field of play and off,” OC President John deSteiguer said. “We are proud to be moving into year two of the three-year membership process and look forward to continued great success by our student-athletes and coaches. OC and the NCAA are a great match.”
After examining an extensive report prepared by the university, the NCAA’s Division II membership committee determined that during 2012-13, OC successfully served what is called Candidacy Year One, during which time the university worked on developing organizational processes to become NCAA-ready.
During 2013-14, OC will serve its Candidacy Year Two, during which time those processes become more stringent and Oklahoma Christian University 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.
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’re extremely excited to be progressing through the NCAA membership process and to keep working toward being a full member of Division II,” OC Athletic Director Curtis Janz said.
“The NCAA and the Division II membership committee have developed a very thorough process to help institutions ready themselves for full membership,” he said. “We look forward to continuing the membership process and working toward making our athletic department into a model Division II, Christian athletic department. Everyone on our campus is striving to accomplish that.”
During the 2012-13 academic year, OC began competing as a member of the Heartland Conference, a Division II league with member schools in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas. The addition of OC’s former Sooner Athletic Conference rivals Rogers State and Lubbock Christian (Texas) for the 2013-14 academic year has boosted the Heartland Conference’s membership to 12 universities.
“We are very pleased to be a member of the Heartland Conference,” Janz said. “We believe it’s a good fit for us athletically and academically.”
In addition to moving forward with the NCAA membership process, Oklahoma Christian will continue to compete as a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association, which provides postseason opportunities for OC’s student-athletes. 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, 11 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.