By BEN JOHNSON
Northeastern State is losing two opponents in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Well, in football, at least.
Lincoln and Southwest Baptist announced on Wednesday that they will join the Great Lakes Valley Conference as associate members in football.
"This move is a great opportunity for LU football," Lincoln head coach Mike Jones said. "The GLVC is an excellent league, and I am very excited about the move."
The four-year agreement will go into effect for the football season in 2014. The move will also also the remaining 12 MIAA schools to play one another during the regular season, resulting in a true regular-season champion in the league.
"I am excited about this strategic alliance and believe it is a benefit to all MIAA institutions," MIAA Commissioner Bob Boerigter said. "Grant Teaff (executive director of the American Football Coaches Association) has encouraged Division II conferences to work together to help grow and sustain Division II football. GLVC Commissioner Jim Naumovich and I believe that this will help meet football scheduling challenges in both conferences."
Lincoln is located in Jefferson City, Mo., while Southwest Baptist is in Bolivar, Mo. The two schools will join a league full of Missouri and Illinois institutions: Missouri S&T (Rolla, Mo.), Truman State (Kirksville, Mo.), William Jewell (Liberty, Mo.), Quincy (Quincy, Ill.), and McKendree (Lebanon, Ill.).
"We are very excited about this arrangement," Mike Pitts, Southwest Baptist athletics director, said in a release from the MIAA. "It's a win-win-win for the MIAA, the GLVC and SBU. Our fans are used to seeing us play the football schools of the GLVC. We are looking forward to great competition and good rivalries in football with the GLVC colleges and universities, while maintaining full membership in the MIAA with all other sports."
The MIAA is slated to announce its 2014 schedule later this week.