McMurry has roughly 1,430 students. Methodist students comprise 27 percent of the student population. Ninety five percent of students are Texan. Minority groups make up approximately one-fourth of the student body. In the freshman class, 98 percent of students receive some financial aid. Fifty-three percent of students live on campus, and 75 percent of students are involved in at least one extracurricular activity.
More than 80 percent of the faculty have earned a doctorate or other terminal degree in their field. McMurry is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Texas Education Agency, the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, the National League for Nursing, and the Texas State Board of Nurse Examiners.
In late August 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) handed down a decision calling for the eighteen universities with Native Americanmascots to change their names or obtain a waiver from their representative tribe for the use of the mascot name. The McMurry Indians were part of this list. The Indians nickname was chosen as a tribute to the University's first president, J.W. Hunt, who grew up on an Indian Reservation in the Indian Territory.
On May 18, 2006, the NCAA rejected McMurry's appeal to keep their nickname. The school has chosen to appeal the ruling, and indicated their intention to do so by the June 18, 2006 deadline. According to a press release, "the University’s appeal will be based on the arbitrariness of the NCAA’s decision-making process and the inconsistent results and messages that have come from the process." Other schools, such as Florida State University, have made successful appeals by garnering the endorsement of Indian tribes. Although McMurry has not actively sought an endorsement, representatives from the Kaw, Kiowa, and Comanche tribes have voiced their approval of McMurry's mascot.
In October 2006, McMurry's Board of Trustees decided that the university would no longer use any names for its athletic teams. Citing the school's 83-year history of honoring Native Americans, the school announced that in spite of no longer using names to designate athletic teams, the school traditions created to honor Native Americans will continue. The school's stadium has now been changed from Indian Stadium to Wilford Moore Stadium, as of Sunday May 13, 2007. Wilford Moore was the highest winning coach in McMurry football history. On March 11, 2011 it was announced that McMurry University's athletic teams would be known as the War Hawks. The new mascot was chosen after a nearly year-long search to find a new mascot to replace the former Indian mascot, which had been taken away by the NCAA in 2006. The war hawk is meant to represent pride, courage and fierce competition for McMurry's athletic teams.
All teams played in the NCAADivision IIIAmerican Southwest Conference until 2011. In July 2011, McMurry announced that it had been accepted as a candidate for NCAA Division II membership and joined the Heartland Conference in the fall of 2012. The Board of Regent voted in January 2014 to move back to Division III. . As of July 2013, McMurry University Football has accepted an invitation to the Lone Star Conference and will play a full conference schedule as of fall 2014.