The Sooner Athletic Conference has added four new members today, bringing in 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 Bethany, Okla., accepted the league's invitation and will begin competing next year.
Northwood, Texas Wesleyan and Southwestern Assemblies of God are all in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The four new schools join John Brown, Mid-America Christian, Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma City, St. Gregory's, Science & Arts of Oklahoma and Wayland Baptist.
"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 Bethany, Okla., 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, 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, Texas, competes in men's and women's basketball, football, baseball, softball, men's and women's soccer, and volleyball.
What started as a basketball conference has become a dominant grouping of some of the best athletic programs in the NAIA.
The Sooner Athletic Conference has had a proud heritage in the NAIA. In men's basketball, a 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.