Kenneth Mister and wire reports
OKLAHOMA CITY — The six Arkansas Schools in the Gulf South Conference look to be on their way out.
The three Oklahoma schools, who have been in talks with the six Arkansas schools for weeks about joining to form their own Division II conference, have made the first move in turning rumors into reality.
The Lone Star Conference says three of its Oklahoma members plan to withdraw from the NCAA Division II league.
Conference Commissioner Stan Wagnon says the Richardson, Texas-based league has been notified that East Central University in Ada, Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant and Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford are leaving the conference. He says league policy makes their withdrawal effective in June 2012.
Once the nine schools combine, Delta State will be left in a conference with only five football-playing teams; six are needed for NCAA funding. DSU, a charter member of the GSC, has recently stood by their conference, adding that Lambuth and other schools may be joining the GSC.
The presidents of the three schools met Friday in Russellville, Ark., with leaders of six Arkansas Division II schools to discuss the possibility of forming a new conference in an attempt to reduce travel.
The three Oklahoma schools joined the Lone Star Conference in 1995. The conference has 16 members — nine in Texas, six in Oklahoma and one in New Mexico. Wagnon says he remains confident in the future success of the league.