CLAREMORE, Okla. — Rogers State will join the MIAA starting in the fall of 2019, pending formal approval from the university's governing board.
The MIAA leadership on Thursday afternoon voted to welcome the Hillcats as an associate member for the 2019-20 season in all sports that the university participates. The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, which governs RSU, will consider the issue during its Oct. 24 meeting.
Should Rogers State be approved, the MIAA will continue to have 14 teams next year. Southwest Baptist and Lindenwood are leaving after this school year for the Great Lakes Valley Conference, and Newman, located in Wichita, and Rogers State will be coming in and leaving the Heartland Conference.
Newman and Rogers State do not have football programs. The MIAA has removed specific sports requirements for league members, and Rogers State officials said the school will not add football.
The MIAA has conference championships for all sports that Rogers State competes — baseball, 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.
Rogers State athletics director 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," Ratcliff said in a release. "Additionally, the conference's geographic footprint lends itself to natural rivalries with area schools (including Missouri Southern, Pittsburg State, Northeastern State and Central Oklahoma) that will excite our fans, while also reducing travel time for student-athletes."
"At RSU, we strive to ensure that our student-athletes are successful in competition, in the classroom and in the community," school president Dr. Larry 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."