McKendree to Become Member of Great Lakes Valley Conference
(LEBANON, Ill., October 6)—McKendree University has received and accepted an invitation to become the 17th member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC). McKendree was unanimously approved for membership at a meeting of the GLVC Council of Presidents on Tuesday.
“We are delighted that the administration of the Great Lakes Valley Conference has invited McKendree University to be a part of its membership,” said McKendree University President Dr. James Dennis. “We feel that the GLVC is one of the premier conferences in NCAA Division II, and we are honored that they believe we are worthy of inclusion in their league. Of course, our successful candidacy for membership in the GLVC would not have been possible without the hard work and countless hours put in by our athletics administration and coaching staff. Their dedication to the University and their student-athletes has put us in position to enjoy success both athletically and academically, and I have great faith that this will continue as we transition to a new athletic conference.”
Back in July, McKendree was accepted into NCAA Division II candidacy status. The Bearcat athletic program is currently in year one of a two-year candidacy period. If McKendree completes the candidacy period on schedule, the athletic program will have a provisional year of membership in 2012-13 before attaining active membership status in NCAA Division II for the 2013-14 academic year.
According to GLVC officials, McKendree will be eligible for league championships and integrated into the schedules for the following sports in 2012-13: football, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s golf. The GLVC anticipates that McKendree will be eligible for all league championships in 2013-14.
“McKendree is pleased to accept membership in the Great Lakes Valley Conference,” said McKendree Athletic Director Dr. Todd Reynolds. “We believe this new alignment creates a good fit for both the University and for our athletic teams. McKendree is centrally located within this conference and we look forward to the development of athletic rivalries locally and throughout the region. We invite fans and alumni who have followed Bearcat sports over the years to come with us as we begin a new era in our sports history.”
According to Reynolds, one of the top priorities for the McKendree athletic program after its acceptance into NCAA candidacy was to align itself with a prominent and successful Division II conference. Reynolds feels that McKendree has done just that with its acceptance into the GLVC.
“The GLVC is comprised of schools with strong academic reputations and quality athletic offerings,” said Reynolds. “Over the years, the conference has competed for national championships at the NCAA Division II level in several sports. It is our intention to continue to offer competitive athletic teams as we join this new conference and as we work to enter NCAA Division II membership.”
Currently, McKendree competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). McKendree is a member of the American Midwest Conference for most of its intercollegiate programs. The Bearcats compete in the Mid-States Football Association for football only.
“The Great Lakes Valley Conference is pleased to welcome McKendree University as the league’s 17th member,” said Jim Naumovich, GLVC Commissioner. “McKendree boasts an outstanding academic reputation and features an athletic program that has been competitive at the national level during its time as an NAIA member. We believe they will be a great fit for the GLVC and NCAA Division II.”
The GLVC was established in 1978 and currently offers championships in 17 intercollegiate sports. The league plans to add football as an 18th championship sport beginning in 2012. Heading into the 2010-11 season, GLVC schools have won a total of 11 national championships in basketball. The league also claimed national titles in softball (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2007) and baseball (Southern Indiana in 2010).
The addition of McKendree marks the first time that the GLVC has had 17 members and will make the league the largest NCAA Division II conference in the country.
Member institutions for the GLVC come from five different states. GLVC schools from Illinois include Lewis University, Quincy University and the University of Illinois at Springfield. Conference members from Missouri are Drury University, Maryville University, Missouri Science and Technology University, Rockhurst University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and William Jewell College. GLVC members from Indiana include Saint Joseph’s College, the University of Indianapolis and the University of Southern Indiana, while Kentucky schools in the conference are Bellarmine University, Kentucky Wesleyan College and Northern Kentucky University. The lone GLVC institution from the state of Wisconsin is the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.