EDMOND, Oklahoma - Oklahoma Christian University plans to make the jump from the NAIA to NCAA Division II.

The University's President-elect John DeSteiguer announced Monday that the school plans to apply for Division II membership later this year and that it has already been accepted into the Heartland Conference, pending approval of the application to the NCAA.

If approved, Oklahoma Christian will play a full Heartland Conference schedule during the 2012-13 school year.

"Oklahoma Christian has a long and storied athletic tradition," said deSteiguer. "We've been very successful in the NAIA through the years. Now it's time for Oklahoma Christian to apply for membership in NCAA Division II. It's the best thing for our student-athletes, our coaches and our fans."

OC has been a member of the NAIA since the 1960's and has been a member of the Sooner Athletic Conference since its creation.

In a press release about the new plans to move to Division II the university said the "changes in the composition of the NAIA, along with the growth of the university has led OC to re-evaluate its affiliations."

OC Athletic Director Curtis Janz says the university will submit the application for NCAA Division II affiliation on June 1, 2012.

The OC Board of Trustees approved the filing of the application for NCAA Division II affiliation in April 2011.

Oklahoma Christian teams have won national titles in men's golf (2009) and men's tennis (2003), and numerous individual national titles in track and field dating back to 1968.

OC finished eighth among NAIA institutions in the NACDA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup all-sports standings during the 2009-10 school year and was 10th during the 2010-11 school year.

The Heartland Conference currently consists of Dallas Baptist University in Dallas; Newman University in Wichita, Kan.; Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell; St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas; St. Mary's University in San Antonio; Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas; the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, the University of Texas-Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas; and McMurry University in Abilene, Texas.