Oklahoma Baptist claimed its third consecutive Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup as the best overall athletics program in the NAIA, the National Association of College Directors of Athletics announced Thursday.

OBU, in its final season in the NAIA, won the Cup by one of the narrowest margins in the history of the award’s standings.

“It’s very gratifying to get this third Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup in our final year of the NAIA,” said OBU Director of Athletics Robert Davenport. “Our coaches overcame a lot of new wrinkles in this year of transition and our student-athletes again posted successful seasons while carrying a grade point average over 3.0 as a department. That determination wills serve us well in NCAA Division II and the Great American Conference.”

The Bison won by 31 points, which goes down as the fourth-closest finish in the NAIA standings and the closest since Azusa Pacific won by three points over Simon Fraser in 2010.

OBU finished with 854.5 points, followed by Lindsey Wilson with 823.5, Sooner Athletic Conference foes Oklahoma City at 802.75 and Wayland Baptist at 800, with Embry-Riddle at 787.25 in fifth.

Oklahoma Baptist scored 326 spring points, picking up 78 points in baseball to move ahead of Wayland Baptist and hold off Lindsey Wilson and Oklahoma City.

“Winning our third Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup in the last week of the season was exciting to say the least,” Davenport said.

OBU becomes the third NAIA school to win three consecutive Learfield Cups, joining Simon Fraser (1997-2001) and Azusa Pacific (2005-12).

OBU is one of only seven four-year colleges to have won the award three consecutive seasons. Among other schools to have won three straight is Stanford.