Oklahoma Christian and Rogers State have been invited by the NCAA to begin a three-year process toward entering Division II.
OC athletic director Curtis Janz said the NCAA notified him about the invitation just after 10 a.m. Friday. He believes OC’s transition to the NCAA is a smart move for the school.
“It’s a big achievement for the athletic department,” Janz said. “It’s a great day for the university as a whole.”
OC will be a Heartland Conference member and play a full Heartland schedule during the 2012-13 academic year. However, it is not allowed to compete for Division II conference or national championships until the 2015-16 academic year.
On Tuesday, OC joined the National Christian College Athletic Association, which hosts 22 national championships and eight invitationals each year. OC exited the Sooner Athletic Conference and NAIA on June 30.
OC men’s basketball coach Dan Hays doesn’t think three years of being unable to play for NCAA postseason titles will affect recruiting or team morale.
“We’ve got too good a school to sell, and it’s not going to make any difference,” Hays said. “We’re still going to get good players.”
RSU will compete as an NAIA member this season and begin competition in the Heartland during the 2013-14 academic year.
RSU athletic director Ryan Bradley said the university’s pursuit of NCAA membership began two years ago.
“It is probably the biggest step forward for the Rogers State University athletic program to date,” Bradley said. “This is the milestone moment for our athletic program that, I think, tops everything we’ve done to this point.”