UNK- The University of Nebraska at Kearney today (Friday, Sept. 24) announced the acceptance of an invitation to join the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA).
In a vote held this afternoon by MIAA presidents, UNK and Lindenwood University were both extended invitations. Lindenwood, based in St. Charles, Mo., is a current NAIA member that was recently approved for NCAA Division II membership.
UNK will now notify the RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) about its intentions to leave that conference by July 1, 2012. The Lopers will compete as an MIAA member beginning with the 2012-13 academic year. No penalties will be assessed on UNK for leaving RMAC after the 2011-2012 academic year.
This summer, the University of Central Oklahoma and Northeastern (Oklahoma) State University accepted invitations to join the MIAA. With today’s announcement, the MIAA will have 16 members for the 2012-13 year.
“Joining the MIAA is a great opportunity to enhance the welfare of our student athletes, increase our engagement with the community and bring excitement to the UNK campus,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “The fit between UNK and the MIAA is natural, because the member schools have similar missions, values and goals.”
During the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s, UNK was a member of the Central States Intercollegiate Conference (CSIC). Six members of that now defunct league are current MIAA members. UNK won 32 CSIC league titles, including seven in both football and volleyball, and 11 straight in women’s outdoor track.
By joining the MIAA, the Lopers will not only restart these CSIC rivalries, but also be a part of the same conference as the University of Nebraska at Omaha for the first time in school history.
The MIAA added UNO as a league member in 2008. UNK will also be in the same conference as long-time rival and former RMAC member Fort Hays (Kansas) State University. The Tigers joined the MIAA starting with the 2006-07 academic year.
“The geographic footprint of the MIAA is certainly more advantageous from a travel standpoint, and we look forward to re-establishing some storied rivalries in the process,” said UNK Athletic Director Jon McBride. “Joining the MIAA also allows us to enhance our opportunities to compete at a high level in NCAA Division II athletics.”
After being an independent for the first four years as an NCAA Division II member, UNK joined the RMAC in 1994. Since then, the Lopers have won the RMAC All-Sports Trophy 13 times and won 54 regular season titles.
The MIAA, with headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., began in 1912 as the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association and is currently regarded as one of the premier conferences in NCAA Division II.