Sooner Athletic Conference

The Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) is a small college athletics conference affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Originally developed as a five-team conference of Oklahoma-based schools, the SAC now boasts 12 schools in a league that spans four states – Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Sooner Athletic Conference
SAC
Sooner Athletic Conference logo
Established1978
AssociationNAIA
Members12
Sports fielded
  • 18
    • men's: 9
    • women's: 9
RegionSouth Central United States
CommissionerJohn Martin
Websitesoonerathletic.org

As of August 2021, SAC member institutions have collected 109 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) team championships – the most among NAIA conferences – since the league formed in 1978.

The SAC crowns league champions in 18 intercollegiate sports – nine for women and nine for men. Women's sports are basketball, softball, golf, tennis, cross country, soccer, volleyball, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, and wrestling. Men compete in football, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, cross country, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, soccer, and wrestling. The newest conference sport is women's wrestling, added for the 2019-20 season.

The conference is known for a rich basketball tradition. Member schools have won the men's NAIA tournament 12 times and women's NAIA tournament 16 times. SAC member schools also boast 14 NAIA national titles in men's golf, 12 in softball, 12 in women's indoor track and field, 10 in women's golf, 10 in men's cross country, 6 in men's tennis, 5 in women's outdoor track and field, 4 in men's outdoor track and field, 4 in men's indoor track and field, 2 in baseball, 2 in competitive cheer, and 1 in men's soccer for a total of 110.[1]

HistoryEdit

Throughout the league's history, the SAC continues to be known as the conference "Where Champions Play". Various institutions have competed under the SAC banner over the years. Today only the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma remains from the original group that was formed when Bethany Nazarene (now Southern Nazarene), Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma Christian, and Phillips University withdrew from the Texoma Conference to form the SAC.

Membership has changed over the years with today's current members being admitted as follows: Oklahoma City (1986), Wayland Baptist (1994), John Brown (1995), Mid-America Christian (2007), Southwestern Assemblies of God (2013), Texas Wesleyan (2013), Southwestern Christian (2013), Bacone (2014), Central Christian (2017), Oklahoma Panhandle State (2017), and North Texas–Dallas (2020).

The league also includes associate members on a per-sport basis, with University of Houston-Victoria, University of the Southwest, and University of St. Thomas being part of the SAC in women's golf since 2017. Lyon College has been an associate member for women's wrestling since 2019.

Past members of the SAC include: Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma Christian, Southern Nazarene, Rogers State, Lubbock Christian, Northwestern Oklahoma State, Northwood, St. Gregory's and Bacone.

The league also includes associate members on a per-sport basis. Arizona Christian University, Lyon (Ark.) College, Ottawa University-Arizona and Texas College became SAC members for football in 2018-19 with Louisiana College joining for 2021-22.

Chronological timelineEdit

  • 1983 - John Brown left the Sooner to become an NAIA Independent, effective after the 1982-83 academic year.
  • 1995 - John Brown re-joined back to the Sooner, effective the 1995-96 academic year.
  • 1998 - Phillips left the Sooner as the school announced that it would close, effective after the 1997-98 academic year.
  • 2000 - USAO re-joined back to the Sooner, effective the 2000-01 academic year.
  • 2013 - Lubbock Christian and Rogers State left the Sooner and joined the NCAA Division II ranks and the Heartland, effective after the 2012-13 academic year.
  • 2014 - Northwood–Texas left the Sooner as the school announced that it would close, effective after the 2013-14 academic year.
  • 2015 - Oklahoma Baptist left the Sooner and the NAIA to join the NCAA Division II ranks and the GAC, effective after the 2014-15 academic year.
  • 2015 - Bacone College joined the Sooner, effective the 2015-16 academic year.
  • 2017 - St. Gregory's (Okla.) left the Sooner as the school announced that it would close at the end of the fall 2017 semester, effective during the 2017-18 academic year.
  • 2019 - Cleary University joined the Sooner as an associate member for men's wrestling, effective the 2019-20 academic year.
  • 2019 - Lyon added women's wrestling to its Sooner associate membership, effective the 2019-20 academic year.
  • 2020 - Cleary, Indiana Tech, Lourdes and Rochester left the Sooner as associate members for men's wrestling, effective after the 2019-20 academic year.
  • 2021 - North Texas–Dallas has upgraded to full membership within the Sooner, effective the 2021-22 academic year.
  • 2021 - Louisiana College (now Louisiana Christian University) joined the Sooner as an associate member for football, effective the 2021 fall season (2021-22 academic year).

Member schoolsEdit

Current membersEdit

The Sooner currently has 12 full members, all but four are private schools:

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Joined
Central Christian College of Kansas McPherson, Kansas 1884 Free Methodist 1,013 Tigers 2017
John Brown University Siloam Springs, Arkansas 1919 Christian 2,708 Golden Eagles 1980;
1995[a]
Langston University Langston, Oklahoma 1897 Public
(HBCU)
2,554 Lions 2018
Mid-America Christian University Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 1953 Church of God 2,405 Evangels 2007
University of North Texas at Dallas Dallas, Texas 2000 Public 4,100 Trailblazers 2020[b][2]
Oklahoma City University Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 1904 United Methodist 2,968 Stars 1986
Oklahoma Panhandle State University Goodwell, Oklahoma 1909 Public 1,207 Aggies 2017
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Chickasha, Oklahoma 1908 Public 813 Drovers 1978;
2000[c]
Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, Texas 1927 Assemblies of God 2,080 Lions 2013
Southwestern Christian University Bethany, Oklahoma 1946 Pentecostal 764 Eagles 2013
Texas Wesleyan University Fort Worth, Texas 1890 United Methodist 2,373 Rams 2013
Wayland Baptist University Plainview, Texas 1908 Texas Baptist 5,077 Pioneers 1994
Notes
  1. ^ John Brown left the SAC after the 1982–83 school year before re-joining effective the 1995–96 school year.
  2. ^ North Texas–Dallas joined the SAC as an associate during the 2020–21 school year (as of transitional); before becoming a full member in the SAC for all sports, effective the 2021–22 school year.
  3. ^ USAO left the SAC after the 1993–94 school year before re-joining effective the 2000–01 school year.

Associate membersEdit

The Sooner currently has seven associate members, all but one are private schools:

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Joined Sooner
sport
Primary
conference
Arizona Christian University Phoenix, Arizona 1960 Christian 820 Firestorm 2018–19 football Golden State
University of Houston–Victoria Victoria, Texas 1973 Public
(UH System)
4,407 Jaguars 2017–18 women's golf Red River
Louisiana Christian University Pineville, Louisiana 1906 Southern Baptist 1,200 Wildcats 2021–22[3] football Red River
Lyon College Batesville, Arkansas 1872 Presbyterian 700 Scots 2018–19fb.,
2019–20w.wr.
football,
women's wrestling
American Midwest
Ottawa University–Arizona Surprise, Arizona 2017 American Baptist 750 Spirit 2018–19 football Golden State
University of the Southwest Hobbs, New Mexico 1956 Christian 550 Mustangs 2017–18 women's golf Red River
Texas College Tyler, Texas 1894 C.M.E. Church 972 Steers 2018–19 football Red River

Former membersEdit

The Sooner had ten former full members, all but two were private schools:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined Left Current
conference
Bacone College Muskogee, Oklahoma 1880 Tribal college 900 Warriors 2015–16 2018–19 Continental
Lubbock Christian University Lubbock, Texas 1957 Churches of Christ 2,100 Chaparrals 1994–95 2012–13 Lone Star
(NCAA D-II)
Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva, Oklahoma 1897 Public 1,857 Rangers 2002–03 2011–12 Great American
(NCAA D-II)
Northwood University–Texas Cedar Hill, Texas 1966 Nonsectarian N/A Knights 2013–14 2013–14 Closed in 2014
Oklahoma Baptist University Shawnee, Oklahoma 1910 Baptist 2,097 Bison 1978–79 2014–15 Great American
(NCAA D-II)
Oklahoma Christian University Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 1950 Churches of Christ 2,479 Eagles &
Lady Eagles
1978–79 2011–12 Lone Star
(NCAA D-II)
Phillips University Enid, Oklahoma 1906 Disciples of Christ N/A Haymakers 1978–79 1997–98 Closed in 1998
Rogers State University Claremore, Oklahoma 1909 Public 4,300 Hillcats 2007–08 2012–13 Mid-America
(NCAA D-II)
St. Gregory's University Shawnee, Oklahoma 1875 Benedictine N/A Cavaliers 1999–2000 2017–18[a] Closed in 2017
Southern Nazarene University Bethany, Oklahoma 1899 Nazarene 2,110 Crimson Storm 1978–79 2011–12 Great American
(NCAA D-II)
Notes
  1. ^ Closed at the end of the fall 2017 semester (2017–18 school year).

Former associate membersEdit

The Sooner had five former associate members, all were private schools:

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Nickname Joined Left Sooner
sport
Current
conference
Cleary University Howell, Michigan 1883 Nonsectarian 600 Cougars 2019–20 2019–20 men's wrestling Wolverine–Hoosier
Indiana Institute of Technology Fort Wayne, Indiana 1930 Nonsectarian 7,000 Warriors 2017–18 2019–20 Wolverine–Hoosier
Lourdes University Sylvania, Ohio 1958 Catholic 1,500 Gray Wolves 2017–18 2019–20 Wolverine–Hoosier
Rochester University Rochester Hills, Michigan 1959 Churches of Christ 1,100 Warriors 2018–19 2019–20 Wolverine–Hoosier
University of St. Thomas Houston, Texas 1947 Catholic 1,626 Celts 2017–18 2018–19 women's golf SCAC
(NCAA D-III)

Membership timelineEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Conference History".
  2. ^ "UNT Dallas Becomes Newest Sooner Athletic Conference Member". Victory Sports Network. June 10, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  3. ^ "Louisiana College accepted into NAIA, joins RRAC and SAC". Crescent City Sports. October 5, 2020. Retrieved November 1, 2020.

External linksEdit