College of the Ozarks Announces Readmittance to NAIA

From a College of the Ozarks news release:

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks has been accepted for readmittance to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), per the official notice on April 2, after a brief separation from 2021-2023. With this membership, the following C of O athletic teams will compete in the NAIA: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country and track and field, women’s volleyball, and men’s baseball. 

During the fall 2022 College of the Ozarks Board of Trustees meeting, the board voted for the College to begin the application process for admittance to the NAIA. The lengthy process meant that the application did not affect play for the 2022-23 academic year. Student athletes were informed of this by their coaches.

“In April 2022, the C of O Board of Trustees asked our new president to research athletic alignment and recommend a path forward that would be best for the College and our student athletes,” said Shawn McKenzie, board chairman and C of O alumnus. “In reviewing the information Dr. Johnson provided at the October 2022 board meeting, the board voted to reapply to the NAIA. Our admittance to the NAIA provides significant opportunities for our student-athletes to compete at a high level. The College remains deeply committed to our Christian values and honoring our nation’s veterans.”

“The board was clear, and I want to be as well,” said Dr. Brad Johnson, College of the Ozarks president. “Our commitment to biblical values and to patriotism remains unchanged. We will remain true to our biblical values. We will stand to respect the United States flag and honor our Veterans. We will hold firm to the five pillars of the College. As men and women committed to our Christian faith and biblical values, our number one desire is to glorify God in all that we do. That includes being a witness to those around us, letting our light shine, and sharing with others the testimony of what the Lord has done in our lives. We value the contribution and hard work of our student-athletes and hope to provide the best opportunities for them to play, compete, and represent College of the Ozarks in our community and beyond.”

Membership for C of O is effective in July 2023, and teams will play as part of the NAIA beginning in fall 2023. The College also will continue its membership in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). The College of the Ozarks women’s Basketball Team, the Lady Cats, recently clinched the NCCAA title as national champs on March 18, 2023.

“The College has a wonderful story to share,” said Dr. Eric Bolger, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “This story is grounded in Jesus Christ. It includes values of hard work, engaged citizenship, and the life of faith. The College desires to pursue good and share that good with others, including through intercollegiate athletics. We are excited to once again be members of the NAIA.”