Lubbock Christian University received word Friday from the NCAA that the Chaparrals have been accepted into NCAA Division II candidacy.

LCU now begins the three-year process of transitioning to the NCAA Division II affiliation from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

The Chaparrals will remain a member of the NAIA and the Sooner Athletic Conference for the 2012-13 season, followed by a two-year provisional period before gaining official NCAA Division II status.

LCU will have all 11 varsity athletic programs transition to compete at the NCAA Division II level, and will participate as a member of the Heartland Conference.

Also leaving the Sooner Athletic Conference to join the Heartland Conference are Oklahoma Christian and Rogers State (Okla.).

The three universities join current conference members Arkansas-Fort Smith, Dallas Baptist (Texas), McMurry (Texas), Newman (Kan.), Oklahoma Panhandle State, St. Edwards (Texas), St. Mary’s (Texas), Texas A&M International, Texas Permian Basin.

The Chaparrals Athletic Department has scheduled a press conference on Monday, July, 23 at 2 p.m. inside the Cardwell Welcome Center on the LCU campus.