The NCAA Membership Committee announced Friday its recommendation that OBU advance to Year Two of its NCAA candidacy.
Formal ratification of the Membership Committee's decision is expected to be made by the Division II Management Council later this summer.
The candidacy period of transition is designed to be a three-year process in which athletic programs adjust to NCAA rules and demonstrate compatibility with the organization. Each year, a committee will review OBU's reports and evaluate its progress to arrive at a recommendation to progress to the next or repeat the current stage.
"The recommendation that OBU move into Year Two status was welcome news. We've worked hard as a staff and that effort was rewarded today. The work continues for us, but with this positive step behind us, we are confident in our progress."
With the affirmative nod by the NCAA committee, OBU moves into a season of competition within the NCAA and the Great American Conference, but is not eligible for actual postseason competition. Its athletes are eligible for All-Conference and academic awards.
"This is good and expected news from the NCAA," said GAC Commissioner Will Prewitt. "We're looking forward to adding OBU to conference schedules and working with the administration during year two of the process. Congratulations to the athletic staff and university community for advancing through the first step of the NCAA Division II membership process with flying colors."
The Great American Conference includes 12 schools, 11 of which are now full members with Northwestern Oklahoma State being approved for full NCAA membership Friday.
The GAC's 11 full NCAA members include six schools in Arkansas (Arkansas Tech, Arkansas-Monticello, Harding, Henderson State, Ouachita Baptist and Southern Arkansas) and five in Oklahoma (East Central, NWOSU, Southeastern Oklahoma State, Southern Nazarene and Southwestern Oklahoma State).
OBU's first GAC contest comes on the football field at 11 a.m., Sept. 5, when the Bison host the Bisons of Harding.
While OBU spends the next two seasons not eligible for NCAA postseason, most of its teams can qualify for national championships in the National Christian College Athletics Association.