Harding to join other schools in new conference

The chief executive officers of nine universities in Arkansas and Oklahoma announced on Tuesday, July 13, 2010, that they intend to apply to the National Collegiate Athletic Association for permission to create a new NCAA Division II conference.

The members of the proposed new conference would be the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Arkansas Tech University, East Central University, Harding University, Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southern Arkansas University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

"The intent of the conference is to group together similar institutions in terms of budgets and goals," said the presidents, chancellors and directors of athletics from the nine institutions in a joint statement. "Furthermore, the conference is intended to be made up of universities that field an intercollegiate football program. Our most important goals in this new endeavor are to limit time away from class and limit our travel costs."

The nine member institutions plan to submit a conference strategic plan, a conference constitution and conference by-laws to the NCAA by Dec. 1, 2010.

No decisions have been made regarding the name of the new conference or the location of the conference office.

The pursuit of creating the new conference will not affect athletic schedules for the 2010-11 academic year.

Harding Sports Information