Rogers State University will join the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Conference starting in fall 2019 pending formal approval from the university's governing board.
The MIAA conference leadership on Thursday afternoon voted to welcome RSU as an associate member for the 2019-2020 season in all sports in which the university participates. The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, which governs RSU, will consider the issue during its Oct. 24 meeting.
The MIAA is a 14-school, NCAA Division II athletic conference featuring public and private institutions in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The conference includes area schools such as Northeastern State, University of Central Oklahoma, Pittsburg State and Missouri Southern State. Other MIAA schools include Central Missouri, Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Lincoln University, Lindenwood, Missouri Western, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Northwest Missouri State, Southwest Baptist and Washburn.
RSU Director of Athletics Chris Ratcliff
said a move to the MIAA aligns well with the athletic department's mission moving forward.
"The MIAA is known for its championship-caliber athletic programs, emphasis on academic excellence and a commitment to community service, and these traits align perfectly with RSU's vision for our athletic programs," he said. "Additionally, the conference's geographic footprint lends itself to natural rivalries with area schools that will excite our fans, while also reducing travel time for student-athletes."
RSU President Dr. Larry Rice said the MIAA shares RSU's commitment to developing well-rounded student-athletes through its emphasis on academics, sportsmanship, ethical conduct and community service.
"At RSU, we strive to ensure that our student-athletes are successful in competition, in the classroom and in the community," Rice said. "The MIAA shares our commitment to developing student-athletes who will earn their diplomas and then go out into the world to make a positive difference."
The MIAA participates in conference championships for all sports in which RSU competes, including baseball and softball, 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 men's and women's track and field. While most MIAA members compete in football, the conference in June removed specific sports sponsorship requirements (including football) for member institutions; RSU officials said the university will not be adding football to its athletic programs.
The 2018-2019 season marks RSU's final year as a member of the Heartland Conference.