Northwestern to form task force to review athletic affiliation

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Northwestern to form task force to review athletic affiliation

August 20, 2009

Northwestern Oklahoma State University will create a task force to review its national athletic affiliation and provide recommendations on the future direction of the institution’s varsity athletic programs.

The 11-member task force, chaired by athletic director Bob Battisti, will include representatives from the faculty and staff, student-athletes, alumni and the general public. The task force is expected to begin meeting in late August and complete its work prior to December 31.

“The landscape of small college athletics is changing rapidly and it is important for us to be proactive to best position Northwestern and its student-athletes for success in the future,” said Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president. “The creation of this task force will provide our key constituencies the opportunity to have input on the future direction of our athletic programs as it relates to governance.”

Northwestern is currently a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). All of its sports teams compete in the Sooner Athletic Conference, with the exception of football, which competes as a member of the Central States Football League.

Cunningham said Northwestern officials are concerned about declining membership in the NAIA, especially among schools that offer football as a varsity sport. She added that other NAIA schools also are exploring long-term options.

“Athletics has a long and storied tradition at Northwestern,” Cunningham said. “Our sports teams serve as a rallying point for our campuses and communities, and play a critical role in the enrollment management process. It is important that we have the best information possible and explore all of the options related to our athletic affiliation in order to make the best decisions possible.”

-NW-