Southern Nazarene University has announced that it has accepted an invitation to join the Great American Conference, a newly formed league within NCAA Division II that is comprised of six institutions from Arkansas and three from Oklahoma. Fellow Sooner Athletic Conference member Northwestern Oklahoma State was also extended an invitation and accepted as well.
GAC Commissioner Will Prewitt notified both schools saying that he was, “impressed with the commitment that both institutions are making to gain NCAA status. Southern Nazarene and Northwestern Oklahoma State share common values with our existing membership and will be excellent competitive partners. I'm looking forward to seeing SNU and NWOSU renew long-standing rivalries and build new chapters in their athletic histories.” Both invitations are provisional on the institutions completing the membership process.
“The notification yesterday by Commissioner Prewitt of the invitation by the Great American Conference presidents to join them in a provisional membership status was enthusiastically welcomed,” said Dr. Loren Gresham, SNU President. “The opportunity to be in association with some admired Oklahoma institutions, as well as joining six similar Arkansas schools, is one that we accept with great anticipation.”
The invitation came from the GAC with the expectation that SNU will be accepted into the NCAA Division II Membership Process in July and will begin the four-year journey as soon as the announcement as been made.
“We are excited to receive the invitation to become a member of the Great American Conference,” said SNU Director of Athletics Bobby Martin. “This is a great day for the athletics department at Southern Nazarene University. While we don’t know what the outcome will be for our NCAA Division II membership application, being invited to join the GAC will add credence to the process. We look forward to building lasting relationships and rivalries with the great institutions of the GAC."
The Great American Conference was officially accepted as a Division II conference in November of 2010. Harding, Arkansas Tech, Arkansas at Monticello, Southern Arkansas, Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State all leave the Gulf South Conference and East Central, Southeastern Oklahoma Sate and Southwestern Oklahoma State all leave the Lone Star Conference as all nine schools charter the new conference. The conference would sponsor competition in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s golf, women’s tennis, softball and women’s volleyball. The addition of both SNU and Northwestern would add women’s soccer to the sponsored sports. The conference would also contest a championship in men’s tennis and would attempt to keep men’s soccer under the GAC umbrella.
While the GAC will begin conference play this fall, Southern Nazarene will still compete in the NAIA and the Sooner Athletic Conference for the 2011-12 academic year. If accepted into the NCAA Division II Membership Process, the first year of candidacy would begin in July.
-David Noblett, Sports Information Director
Southern Nazarene University's mission is to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.
Posted on Wed, May 11, 2011
by Laura Poff filed under