Last week Ohio Christian University announced that athletic teams would be transitioning from participating in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in the 2023-2024 academic year and would begin competing in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) starting in fall of 2024. University president, Dr. Ron Smith, has prepared the following statement to clarify why such a move was made.

As your president beginning my third month of office, I have wrestled with a prevailing question:  What is Ohio Christian University meant to be? According to our roots, the answer is to offer our students the best “Wesleyan Christian experience in our world.”

In athletics that means three essential components: Christian, Character, Competition.  I have written to our NAIA Commissioner thanking them for the outstanding privilege ours has been to compete in their River States Conference. We are permitted to compete with their teams every season with all who will offer us the schedule.  However, I am rejoining OCU in the NCCAA. At this juncture I deeply desire our athletes to participate in, and contribute to, the Christian world of athletics.  It is time we leave a mark on our conference and in our nation as Christians.  We will still compete with the teams we choose outside of our conference, but we have a witness we need to make in Christian competition.  We need not only to compete, but to contribute to our distinct witness among Christian America by offering character-based athletes ready to compete and to serve the nation Christ has sought to raise.  From that source we will let our light shine for the whole world.  While we begin to raise the banner of winning immediately, we begin our NCCAA competition in the Fall Semester of 2024.

Ronald E. Smith, PhD

Ohio Christian University


The Athletics department has prepared a series of questions and answers (Q&A) that should cover most questions regarding this change. You can view that list here.