Friday, November 28, 2014

KCAC extends beyond border

By The Herald Staff | 6/25/2014

WICHITA — The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference will extend past the Kansas borders for the first time in its 124-year history in the 2014-2015 athletic season when Oklahoma Wesleyan University joins the conference.

The KCAC Board of Presidents extended an invitation to Oklahoma Wesleyan and the Eagles accepted.

WICHITA — The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference will extend past the Kansas borders for the first time in its 124-year history in the 2014-2015 athletic season when Oklahoma Wesleyan University joins the conference.

The KCAC Board of Presidents extended an invitation to Oklahoma Wesleyan and the Eagles accepted.

“I am pleased to welcome Oklahoma Wesleyan University as the newest member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. Oklahoma Wesleyan is a great fit academically and athletically for the conference and will contribute to our overall mission based on the strategic plan established by the KCAC Board of Presidents,” KCAC Commissioner Dr. Scott Crawford said.

The Eagles are a member of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference. Oklahoma Wesleyan will begin its transition to the KCAC by participating in administrative meetings during the 2014-2015 school year.

Schedules are being drafted to include them in conference competition starting in fall 2015.

“Oklahoma Wesleyan is very excited to join the KCAC,” Oklahoma Wesleyan Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball coach Mark Molder said. “We feel it fits our mission and it will benefit our students tremendously. It’s really a three-prong appeal to us.

“Firstly, we feel this alignment will help us grow as a university. Secondly, we are looking forward to joining a really competitive conference. Thirdly, we are excited for more educational opportunities for our student-athletes with less missed class time and a more concise travel schedule.”       

“The KCAC’s tradition of academic and athletic excellence is a perfect fit for OKWU,” Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Dr. Everett Piper said. “We are excited to be invited to join such a premier conference,”

Oklahoma Wesleyan, located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, is the 11th member of the KCAC and is the first change in membership since 1999 when University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth joined the KCAC.

“This expansion allows the conference to grow its geographic footprint into Oklahoma for recruiting purposes and to connect with alums/fans in Oklahoma from current member schools,” Crawford said. “The addition of Oklahoma Wesleyan Athletics will further enhance regular season competition in many sports for the conference.  

“The Eagles carry a solid national reputation within the NAIA. This expansion will benefit the KCAC in seeking additional automatic and at-large berths in NAIA postseason competition.”

Oklahoma Wesleyan does not currently play football, but competes in men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, track, cross country, golf. baseball, softball and volleyball.

Oklahoma Wesleyan boasts a NAIA Division II men’s basketball national championship (2009) and a 2014 NAIA Baseball World Series bid in which the Eagles finished third.

The 11 institutions in the KCAC are Bethel, Bethany, Friends, Kansas Wesleyan, McPherson, Ottawa, Oklahoma Wesleyan, Sterling, Southwestern, Saint Mary and Tabor.

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