Urbana, Cedarville join Great Midwest Athletic Conference

SPRINGFIELD — In June, Cedarville University and Urbana University announced their intention to form a new NCAA Division II league, along with Notre Dame College and Ursuline College. All they needed then was a name for the league and a couple more colleges to join them.

On Monday, those four schools, plus Central State University and Kentucky Wesleyan College, announced the new league will be called the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. Pending approval from the NCAA, the six schools will begin competition in 2013.

“The Great Midwest Athletic Conference reflects the membership of similar institutions with parallel academic and athletic philosophies and resources,” the presidents of the schools announced in a joint statement. “The geographical reference in the conference’s name represents the connection to NCAA Division II’s Midwest region.”

In football, Urbana and Central State are still planning to compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference beginning in 2012. That move was announced in July 2010. Kentucky Wesleyan is already a member of the GLVC.

The new conference would need to add two more football schools for it to compete in football, Cedarville athletic director Alan Geist said. Cedarville doesn’t have a football team and has no plans to add one, Geist said, and Ursuline is a women’s college in Pepper Pike, Ohio.

Adding new members will be a priority for the conference.

“I’m dreaming a little when I say this,” Cedarville athletic director Alan Geist said, “but I’d like to see two eight-team divisions.”

“We have to submit our application to the NCAA in December,” Urbana athletic director Doug Young said. “Then we’re hoping for the NCAA to give us our notification of whether we’re accepted by February.

“By that point, we’ll start getting some interest from other schools that are currently in conferences or ones that are looking to transition from the NAIA. There’s nothing formal or all that real right now until the application is accepted.”

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