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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – December 1, 2016 –The Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) is strengthening its footprint in Oklahoma and expanding northward, announcing the addition of Central Christian College of Kansas and Oklahoma Panhandle State University . Both institutions earned unanimous approval from the SAC Council of Presidents and will be integrated into conference schedules for the 2017-18 seasons, becoming immediately eligible for conference championships and achievement awards.

“This is the beginning of a new era for the Sooner Athletic Conference, and we’re incredibly excited to welcome OPSU and CCC to the SAC,” SAC Commissioner Stan Wagnon said. “Panhandle and Central Christian both align well with current opportunities for our conference, and our presidents also see OPSU and CCC as great fits in pursuing the vision of what we want this conference to become.”

Central Christian College (CCC) is located in McPherson, Kan. and is an existing member of the NAIA.  They were most recently associated with the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference before the league dissolved in 2015. The Tigers currently sponsor 17 sports and will grow to 18 beginning next year with the addition of men’s lacrosse.

“We are very excited and thankful to partner with the SAC. CCC recognizes athletics as a true leadership laboratory in assisting educators to train men and women as they strive to complete a Christ-centered education for character,” CCC President Hal Hoxie said. “We hope to add quality, integrity, and competitiveness and look forward to building lasting relationships with the strongest conference in the NAIA.”

Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU) is located in Goodwell, Okla. OPSU was a longtime member of the NAIA before re-classifying as NCAA Division II in 1997 as an independent.  OPSU later joined the Heartland Conference and held associate membership in the Lone Star Conference in football only.  The Aggies currently sponsor 10 sports.

OPSU President Dr. Tim Faltyn offered full support for the Aggies’ impending shift to the NAIA and inclusion with the SAC stating, “We are honored by the invitation to join the Sooner Athletic Conference. Our coaches and athletic administration agree that this transition will lead to great opportunities for our student athletes and this university as a whole. I am very impressed with the SAC representatives that I have worked with thus far, and am truly grateful for their commitment, respect and consideration they have shown during our transition. That has gone a long way in making what could have been a very unsettling situation progress smoothly and swiftly.”

Wagnon noted that adding OPSU and CCC brings immediate growth to each of the 13 sports in which conference champions are crowned. It also produces potential for new opportunities, giving the SAC more common ground in other sports like football, tennis, and wrestling, which presently are being sponsored by a minority of SAC members.

“Today’s announcement gives strong indication of the commitment held by our presidents and athletic directors to enhance the SAC in a way that provides a maximum return on the significant investment our members are making in intercollegiate athletics. We want to provide the best possible experience to students at all SAC member schools, and we’ll continue looking for strategic growth opportunities while also intending to capitalize on existing commonalities.”

The Sooner Athletic Conference is a longtime member of NAIA dating back to its creation in the summer of 1977. The league is currently composed of 10 full time members and three associate members located in four states (Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and New Mexico). SAC teams have claimed 87 NAIA national championships in 12 sports.

Contact: Justin Tinder, SAC Information Director, 405-779-3992, [email protected]

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