POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks is set to become the Sooner Athletic Conference’s newest member in the 2024-2025 season. The move was unanimously approved by the SAC Council of Presidents this week.
The Sooner Athletic Conference, founded in 1978 as a five-member conference of Oklahoma-based schools, currently has a 12-member league with six members in Oklahoma, four in Texas, and one each in Arkansas and Kansas. College of the Ozarks will be the first institution from the state of Missouri to join the SAC.
The SAC participates in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and currently sponsors 18 championship sports. SAC teams have won 112 NAIA National Championships, the most of any NAIA conference.
The highly competitive and tradition-rich NAIA conference will grow to 13 full-time members with the addition of C of O.
“We are pleased to welcome President Brad Johnson and the entire College of the Ozarks community into the Sooner Athletic Conference,” SAC Commissioner John Martin said. “C of O has been a leading institution in our region for many years, and our conference will benefit greatly in this partnership.”
College of the Ozarks is located in Point Lookout, Missouri, and was recently readmitted to the NAIA after a brief separation from 2021-2023. C of O is a former member of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference, which dissolved in 2015, and most recently competed in the Continental Athletic Conference. College of the Ozarks currently competes in Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Baseball, and Men’s and Women’s Track and Field.
“College of the Ozarks is honored to join the highly regarded Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC),” said Dr. Brad Johnson, president at College of the Ozarks.
“The College, and specifically our athletic program, looks forward to this opportunity to engage in a high level of competition while continuing to develop the character and values of our student-athletes. We are grateful to Dr. Bobby Hall, the SAC Council of Presidents, the Directors of Athletics, and Commissioner John Martin for their support and warm welcome,” Johnson added.
College of the Ozarks Director of Athletics Steve Shepherd is equally excited about joining the SAC.
“I am extremely happy that College of the Ozarks will be joining the Sooner Athletic Conference. We are thankful to the Council of Presidents and Commissioner John Martin for the opportunity to join a conference so rich in tradition. The Sooner Conference will give our athletes the opportunity to compete against some of the best athletes and teams in the NAIA.”
Current full members of the SAC include Central Christian College (McPherson, Kan.); John Brown University (Siloam Springs, Ark.); Langston University (Langston, Okla.); Mid-America Christian University (Oklahoma City); Oklahoma City University (Oklahoma City); Oklahoma Panhandle State University (Goodwell, Okla.); Southwestern Assemblies of God University (Waxahachie, Texas); Southwestern Christian University (Bethany, Okla.); Texas Wesleyan University (Fort Worth, Texas): University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (Chickasha, Okla.); Wayland Baptist University (Plainview, Texas); and University of North Texas Dallas (Dallas).
For additional information, contact Public Relations Director Valorie Coleman at (417) 690-2212.
About College of the Ozarks
College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest, No. 1 Best Value Regional College in the Midwest, and No. 1 Top Performer on Social Mobility in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2022-23. College of the Ozarks also earned No. 1 Best Christian Colleges and Universities by College Consensus for 2022 and No. 3 Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly for 2022. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.
The Keeter Center — the College’s award-winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility — consistently earns TripAdvisor® Traveler’s Choice Awards. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest workstation on campus.