John Brown University of Siloam Springs, Ark., likely will join the Sooner Athletic Conference by the end of the month, expanding that NAIA league to eight schools.
JBU was a member of the SAC during the 1981-82 and 1982-83 school years and is currently in the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference. The AIC is being dissolved after this school year because of the departure of the league's football-playing schools to NCAA Division II.
JBU, a private church school which doesn't have a football team, has been looking for a new conference home. The SAC, whose current seven members are also private church institutions, needs another school to balance its league basketball schedule.
"They have applied, so it's all procedural now," SAC commissioner John Hudson said on Monday. "The earliest a vote could take place will be late this week or early next week. " Falling: Oklahoma City University's first-year women's soccer team dropped four spots to No. 8 in this week's NAIA rankings after suffering its first loss of the season, a 4-3 decision at NCAA Division I Texas Christian last Wednesday. OCU, 10-1, has beaten No. 5 Park (Mo.), and five teams with two losses are ranked ahead of the Lady Chiefs.
OCU and No. 17 Southern Nazarene (11-4) have qualified for the NAIA Southwest Independent Section tournament, set for Nov. 9 and 11 in San Antonio, Texas. The winner of that qualifies for the Southwest Region tournament. OCU has beaten SNU twice this season, including a 3-2 overtime decision on Saturday.
On the Road Again: Central Oklahoma's volleyball team won at Lone Star Conference rivals Abilene Christian and Angelo State last week, giving UCO a 20-3 overall record and a 6-2 LSC mark. UCO was second in last week's NCAA II South Central Region rankings, and the top four teams in the final poll qualify for the national tournament.
UCO has recorded its third straight 20-win season and needs six wins to break the school record of 25, set in 1990. The Lady Bronchos face two more road tests this week: against perennial LSC power West Texas A&M on Friday and defending LSC champ Eastern New Mexico on Saturday.
UCO senior middle blocker Angie Schoof leads the LSC in hitting percentage at .348, while senior outside hitter Carrie Hare of Norman leads the team in digs (297) and kills (283).
Scouting Around: Darrell Withem of Missouri Southern, a senior goalkeeper-forward from Broken Arrow, was the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association soccer player of the week for Oct. 2-8. He played in goal for one half in a 2-0 win over Northeastern on Oct. 5. Three days later, he posted a scoreless second half in goal against Missouri-Kansas City before switching to forward in OT and scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 win. . .
Three players, including 1993-94 SAC women's basketball player of the year Gina Farmer, have each received a scholarship release from OCU and will be eligible at East Central during the upcoming season. Farmer, a junior center, isn't expected to play until the second semester because of a knee injury, but junior forward Rebecca Cotton and sophomore center Sally Farmer will see first-semester action.
First Downs: The Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference still features the top two rushers in NAIA I football. Southeastern's Earnest Hunter remained No. 1 at 169.67 yards per game despite a 21-yard effort against Langston on Saturday, and Northeastern's Eddie Akins is No. 2 at 146.0 yards per game. . .
For the first time in several years, Panhandle State has a player who ranks No. 1 in the nation in an individual category.
Freshman cornerback Dylan Madkins is atop NAIA II in punt returns with a 21.22-yard average. Madkins has returned two punts for touchdowns this season and is a major reason the Aggies, 4-2-1, are enjoying their best season since 1986.
Catch It If You Can: Chris George of Glenville State (W.Va.), college football's leading career receiver, tied the NAIA I and NCAA II single-game records for most receptions with 23 catches for 308 yards and three TDs in a 45-44 loss on Saturday to West Virginia Wesleyan. Jerry Rice of Mississippi Valley State holds the collegiate record of 24 catches.
The Last Word: Southeastern edged Langston 26-25 last Saturday, and the third-ranked Savages will visit No. 5 Northeastern this Saturday. The following week, No. 7 Langston will travel to Northeastern. With that in mind, Southeastern coach Morris Sloan has a query for state football fans: "I know I'm a small-college football coach," he said, "but why in the world would anybody go pay $25 to go watch OU or OSU play, when they could pay $5 the next two weeks and see three great small-college football teams go toe-to-toe? They could save $20, and they'd get quality entertainment. " BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 590129