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NAIA Approves Oakland City University for Full Membership; OCU will Compete in the River States Conference

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is pleased to announce the approval of five (5) institutions for membership, which will be effective July 1, 2020. Formal approval was voted upon by the NAIA Council of Presidents (COP) on March 31 at the annual NAIA COP Business Meeting.

New members include: Oakland City University (Oakland City, Ind.), Park University Gilbert (Gilbert, Ariz.), Texas A&M University-San Antonio, University of North Texas at Dallas and Westcliff University (Irvine, Calif.).

“The NAIA is excited to welcome these five schools into our association,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “Each of these institutions exemplifies the NAIA’s core values and will undoubtedly make great additions to their respective conferences, as well as the organization overall.”

Oakland City will be returning to the NAIA from NCAA Division II, becoming the sixth school to move from the NCAA in the past five years. It will be immediately eligible for postseason competition, which is a benefit afforded to former members that return to the NAIA.  With 14 sports, Oakland City boasts the largest athletics department among the newcomers.

The Mighty Oaks have been approved for membership in the River States Conference joining the other conference member institutions Alice Lloyd (Ky.) College, Asbury (Ky.) University, Brescia (Ky.) University, Carlow (Pa.) University, Indiana University East, Indiana University Kokomo, Indiana University Southeast, Midway (Ky.) University, Ohio Christian University, Point Park (Pa.) University, University of Rio Grande (Ohio) and West Virginia University Institute of Technology.

Oakland City University participated in the precursor of the River States Conference, known as the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1968-75. Founded in 1916, the KIAC rebranded in the summer of 2016 and changed its name to the River States Conference.

“The River States Conference is delighted to see Oakland City University return to the NAIA and the conference,” said Michael Schell, RSC Commissioner. “They have been great to work with through the application process, and I look forward to seeing them compete this fall.”

“Oakland City University is excited to return to the NAIA and especially the River States Conference,” said Dr. Ron Dempsey, President of OCU. “The institutions in the RSC will provide our intercollegiate Mighty Oaks tremendous competition, and we are looking forward to developing some intra-conference rivalries.  As president, I am proud that OCU is able to associate with the NAIA and compete with such a stellar group of colleges and universities in the River State Conference.”

The Mighty Oaks sponsor 14 sports teams –six men’s, seven women’s and one co-ed. Oakland City will participate in 13 of the 17 RSC Championship sports with the only exceptions being men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field which OCU hopes to add by 2021.

About Oakland City University

OCU is a Christian university which offers high quality, career-focused degree programs in a Christ-centered, campus secure environment.  The University is committed to the pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence but equally committed to providing students with a conducive environment for personal spiritual growth.  Our Christ-centered values and relationships create a supportive environment which encourages students to live a life of Christian service in their chosen careers.  Our talented faculty equip our students with the knowledge and expertise they need to lead healthy, productive lives and successful, fulfilling careers.  Founded by the General Association of General Baptists in 1885, U.S. News and World Report has recognized Oakland City University as one of the top universities in the Midwest. In addition, OCU has been voted as one of the safest colleges and universities in the state of Indiana. The school holds the distinction of being accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). #GoMightyOaks #RiverStatesConference #NAIA

About National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. NAIA members provide more than 77,000 student-athletes with opportunities to play college sports, earn $800 million in scholarships and compete in 27 national championships. www.naia.org | @NAIA

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