UAFS joining Heartland Conference

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith has found a Division II conference to join. The school announced today that it had accepted an invitation to join the Heartland Conference.

UAFS, which now competes as a junior college, will be an NCAA Division II provisional member next season.

The school tried to join the Gulf South Conference, which includes six Arkansas schools, but UAFS said the GSC wanted to preserve the balance of 8 teams each in its East and West divisions.

The Heartland Conference includes Dallas Baptist, Incarnate Word, St. Edward's, Lincoln, St. Mary's, Newman, Texas A&M International, Oklahoma Panhandle State and Texas-Permian Basin. The league includes six teams from Texas and one each from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

UAFS athletic director Dustin Smith said school officials are thankful to have a conference home, and feel the Heartland Conference fits the UAFS mission and goals.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.