CLAREMORE — Rogers State University along with former Sooner Athletic Conference foe Lubbock Christian were welcomed into the Heartland Conference on July 1.
The Hillcats and the Chaparrals will both be competing in the Heartland Conference as provisional members during the 2013-14 season.
Rogers State spent eight season in the NAIA and six years in the Sooner Athletic Conference. The Hillcats made 13 NAIA National Tournament appearances, tallied 16 NAIA All-Americans and won three SAC championships. They will join the Heartland with10 sports, including baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, and softball.
Lubbock Christian spent 19 seasons in the Sooner Athletic Conference before making the jump to NCAA DII this year. LCU will bring 11 sports to the conference, including baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball and softball.
With the edition of RSU and LCU the Heartland Conference will now have 12 schools competing, making the conference the strongest it been since its start in 1999. The conference now has seven schools from Texas, three from Oklahoma, and one each from Arkansas and Kansas.
Tony Stigliano, the Heartland Conference Commissioner, stated "This is a great day for the Heartland Conference, we are excited and pleased to welcome Rogers State and Lubbock Christian to our conference. We look forward to what the future holds for both of them and our conference as a whole."
Lubbock Christian and Rogers State join McMurry and Oklahoma Christian as provisional members, with each team looking to become full members starting the 2015-16 season. When each of the schools becomes full NCAA DII members they will then be eligible for postseason play.