CLINTON, Miss. -- Mississippi College says the NCAA has approved its move back to Division II.

The college submitted an application last fall to the NCAA Division II membership committee. The application was denied. Mississippi College leaders say in a news release Friday that the NCAA Membership Committee overturned the earlier decision.

The Choctaws will play in the American Southwest Conference in Division III this year. Mississippi College officials say they expect to be playing in Division II in 2015 and become a full member in the fall of 2016.

Mississippi College was a member of Division II until 1996. Schools are allowed to award athletic scholarships in Division II, but not in Division III.

The Gulf South Conference currently includes regional rivals like Delta State and West Alabama.