College of the Ozarks has announced that its athletic teams will be competing in the NAIA as a member of the Association of Independent Institutions beginning in the fall of 2015. The term independent refers to an NAIA four-year member institution that does not belong to an NAIA-affiliated conference.
College of the Ozarks formerly competed as a member of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference, which will cease to exist as a conference due to several MCAC schools opting for conferences that include teams located in closer proximity.
The NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship will continue to be held at College of the Ozarks through the 2016 and 2017 seasons, as per the College’s contract with the NAIA, with the possibility of future contract renewals.
Coach Steve Shepherd, who will assume the role of the College’s Athletic Director on June 1, states, “Moving to the Association of Independent Institutions will provide the College’s athletic teams with new opportunities for competition and travel, while still allowing for the College’s long-standing association with the NAIA and the ability to qualify for participation in national championships in all of our sports.”