William Jewell College has been invited to join the Great Lakes Valley Conference of the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s Division II. The conference affiliation is the next step for William Jewell in candidacy year one of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II membership process.
“We look forward to this next step in the candidacy process,” said Dr. David Sallee, President of William Jewell. “We firmly believe that this new conference affiliation will build on William Jewell’s tradition of developing student-athletes who are both engaged in the classroom and competitive on the playing field.”
Dr. Darlene Bailey, Director of Athletics and Chair of the Department of Physical Education at William Jewell, expressed her appreciation for the support of the Great Lakes Valley Conference members. “We have reached an important milestone in the transition process, and we look forward to working with the members of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.”
Jim Naumovich, GLVC Commissioner, confirmed that the addition of William Jewell was unanimously approved by the GLVC Council of Presidents at its Oct. 6 meeting in Indianapolis. “The Great Lakes Valley Conference is pleased to welcome William Jewell College as the league’s 16th member,” Naumovich said. “William Jewell boasts an outstanding academic reputation and a solid athletic program, and we feel they will be an outstanding addition to the GLVC and NCAA Division II.”
The College will begin regular season competition and will be eligible for select GLVC championships during the 2011-12 academic year. William Jewell will be eligible for postseason competition in the majority of GLVC sports in 2012-13.
William Jewell sponsors 18 sports, including all seven of the ‘core’ sports (men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball) currently sponsored by the GLVC. The Cardinals also sponsor men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s golf, each of which is also a sport sponsored by the Conference.
William Jewell also sponsors football and, with the addition of the Cardinals to GLVC membership, brings the number of football-playing institutions in the league to six. It is anticipated that football competition will begin in the GLVC in 2012.
William Jewell was a charter member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) and has been competing in the NAIA conference since 1971. The Cardinals have captured 96 conference titles in the HAAC and were the first NAIA program to claim 500 football victories.
“Their geographic proximity to Rockhurst University will now allow us to move forward with divisional scheduling in soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, softball, and baseball beginning in 2011-12,” added Naumovich.
The roots of the Great Lakes Valley Conference can be traced to 1972 when the athletic directors of three member schools - Kentucky Wesleyan, Bellarmine and Indiana State University at Evansville (now the University of Southern Indiana) - began preliminary discussions about forming a basketball conference. Four years later, the University of Indianapolis and Saint Joseph’s College expressed interest. On July 7, 1978, those schools - along with Ashland University - united to become the GLVC.
In 2009, Maryville University and the University of Illinois at Springfield became the newest members of the league. The schools are two of 13 institutions that have joined the league since its formation. Those members include: Lewis University (1980), Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne (1984), Northern Kentucky University (1985), Kentucky State University (1989), Quincy University (1994), Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (1994), University of Wisconsin-Parkside (1994), University of Missouri-St. Louis (1995), Drury (2005), Missouri S&T (2005), Rockhurst (2005), Illinois-Springfield (2009) and Maryville (2009). Ashland and Kentucky State left the conference after the 1994 season, IPFW left the league following the 2000-01 academic year and SIU Edwardsville exited the league following the 2007-08 academic year.
The timeline for William Jewell’s NCAA Division II candidacy will be as follows:
- Candidacy Year 1 (2009-2010) - Continue to compete in the NAIA’s Heart of America Athletic Conference and be eligible for NAIA post-season play while completing educational activities as part of the NCAA Division II membership process.
- Candidacy Year 2 (2010-2011) – Continue to compete in the NAIA’s Heart of America Athletic Conference and be eligible for NAIA post-season play while completing educational activities as part of the NCAA Division II membership process.
- Provisional Year (2011-2012) - After successful completion of the candidacy period, William Jewell must be invited to enter the provisional year, and Jewell’s readiness to become an active member will continue to be evaluated.
- Active Member of NCAA Division II (2012-2013) - Must be invited to active membership.
William Jewell will maintain dual membership in the NAIA and NCAA during the candidacy period. The Cardinals will be eligible for post-season play in the NAIA during the first two NCAA candidacy years (2009-2010 and 2010-2011), but not during the final provisional year (2011-2012). The Cardinals will not be eligible for regional and national post-season play in the NCAA until full active membership is granted. A vote following the third year of membership would lead to a full active membership in the association for the 2012-2013 season.