ABILENE, Texas -

McMurry University's board voted Friday to phase out athletic scholarships and compete in NCAA Division III.

University trustees reviewed the university’s Division II status as part of their regular board meeting.

According to a news release, the university  will continue to "honor athletic aid covering tuition at the level currently being received by the affected student athletes for two years as long as they are participating in their sport."

In the news release, McMurry University Board of Trustees Chairman Chuck Fallon said: "We understand this will be a difficult adjustment for student-athletes, their families and for our athletic coaches. The McMurry administration will work closely will all those affected to provide assistance in making this transition."

Fallon went on to say the decision was about two things: Financial stability and a focus on academics.

NCAA Division II schools provide athletic scholarships for student-athletes, while Division III schools do not.

McMurry University officials said they have yet to determine what conference they will join.

In an email, McMurry University spokesman Gary Ellison said the university board's options included:

*- The university moving to NCAA Division II permanent status next year with the current athletic structure in place or with a reduction in sports offered, or

*- Remaining an NCAA Division III member school.

The decision was made as McMurry University nears the end of its second year as a provisional member of NCAA Division II.

The McMurry University board approved moving toward obtaining NCAA Division II status in December 2010.

A year ago, the McMurry board considered cutting some sports as a cost-saving measure, but ultimately elected not to do so.

On Sept. 1, 2013, McMurry University officially began “Candidacy Year 2” in the three-step membership process to become a full-fledged NCAA Division II member.