Purple Pride invades Sooner Athletic Conference

Nine of SAGU’s ten sports to compete

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Sooner Athletic Conference has added four new members, bringing its membership total to 11 for the 2013-14 school year.

Northwood University, Texas Wesleyan University and Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas, and Southwestern Christian University in Oklahoma, accepted the league's invitation and will begin competing this fall.

Northwood, Texas Wesleyan and Southwestern Assemblies of God are all in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The four new schools join John Brown University (Ark), Mid-America Christian University (Ok), Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma City University, St. Gregory's University (Ok), the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma and Wayland Baptist University (Tx).

Two former members, Lubbock Christian University and Rogers State University, have joined the NCAA’s Division 2. The year before, three others departed from the Sooner, also moving to the NCAA D2; Oklahoma Christian University, Southern Nazarene University and Northwest Oklahoma State University.

"These are exciting times in the conference," said SAC Commissioner John Hudson. "Expansion into the Metroplex area is great for the Sooner Athletic Conference and brings Northwood, Texas Wesleyan and Southwestern Assemblies into the NAIA's premier league."

Southwestern Christian University, located in the Oklahoma City suburb of Bethany, offers men's and women's basketball, men's and women's track and cross country, softball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and volleyball and will compete in those sports in the SAC.

Men's and women's bowling, canoe and kayak, as well as cheer are also offered at SCU.

"We are excited to have Southwestern Christian enter the Sooner Athletic Conference and join what has long been the best group of schools athletically and academically in the NAIA," said Hudson.

"I think this move is mutually beneficial to all the institutions involved."

Northwood, located in Cedar Hill (south of Dallas), Texas, will be competing in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's track and cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, baseball and softball.

Texas Wesleyan, located in Fort Worth, plays baseball, softball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country and track, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer and volleyball.

Southwestern Assemblies of God, located in Waxahachie, competes in men's and women's basketball, football, baseball, softball, men's and women's soccer, volleyball and, beginning this fall, men’s and women’s cross country.

The football Lions will continue in the six-team Central States Football League.

Wayland Baptist and Oklahoma Baptist, from the Sooner, are fellow members in the CSFL, along with Langston University, Bacone College and Texas College, who compete in the Red River Athletic Conference in other sports.

What started as a basketball conference has become a dominant grouping of some of the best athletic programs in the NAIA, which has between 250-300 member institutions.

The Sooner Athletic Conference has had a proud heritage in the NAIA.

In men's basketball, an SAC team has played for the national championship 15 times and has been in the finals in 14 of the last 19 seasons with a total of nine NAIA championships. In women's basketball, SAC members have won the national title 10 times.

But basketball is just the tip of the iceberg of success in the SAC.

In track, the SAC has won seven men's national titles and five women's NAIA crowns.

The SAC has been well represented in the NAIA Baseball World Series and has one national championship, while the league has an impressive 153-66 record in the NAIA Softball Tournament, including eighth national championships.

There also are eight men's national golf titles, five women's golf titles and five men's and women's tennis national championships in the SAC's trophy case.

Each year the national championships bear out what the member institutions believe: the Sooner Athletic Conference is simply the best small college conference in America.

Majority of this article written by Ray Fink, Oklahoma Baptist University Sports Information Director. The article originally appeared on the SAC website.

Sooner Athletic Conference

Members Location Mascot
John Brown University Siloam Springs, AR Golden Eagles
Mid-America Christian University Oklahoma City, OK Evangels
Northwood University Cedar Hill, TX Knights
Oklahoma Baptist University Shawnee, OK Bison
Oklahoma City University OKC, OK Stars
SAGU Waxahachie, TX Lions
Southwestern Christian University Bethany, OK Eagles
St. Gregory's University Shawnee, OK Cavaliers
Texas Wesleyan University Ft. Worth, TX Rams
Univ of Science & Arts of Oklahoma Chickasha, OK Drovers
Wayland Baptist University Plainview, TX Pioneers

For more information, visit the Sooner website at:  www.soonerathletic.org