Tiffin University has announced its intention to leave the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and join the Great Midwest Athletic Conference starting in the 2018-19 season.
The Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), was approved by the NCAA Division II Membership Committee in February of 2012 as a member conference and earned active status in July of 2013, after completing an educational assessment program in 2012-13. The conference began competition as the 24th active NCAA Division II conference in 2013-14.
The G-MAC features members from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Charter members of the G-MAC included Cedarville University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Trevecca Nazarene University, and Ursuline College.
The G-MAC expanded in 2014-15 with the inclusion of Alderson Broaddus University, Davis & Elkins College, and Ohio Valley University as active DII members. Malone University joined the G-MAC on July 1, 2016 as a full member and the University of Findlay, Hillsdale College, Lake Erie College, Ohio Dominican University, and Walsh University will join on July 1, 2017.
The addition of Tiffin increases the total to 14 league member institutions in 2018-19.
Currently in its fifth year of existence since being recognized as an official NCAA Division II conference, the Great Midwest currently has eight full member institutions and two associate member schools competing in 20 championship sport offerings.
"We are excited about this move as a new chapter in the history of our great institution," said Tiffin University President Dr. Lillian Schumacher. "Our decision to move to the G-MAC was the result of much discussion among our Board, coaches, athletic staff, students and even alumni. The Director of Athletics, Lonny Allen, and I spent time with each to ensure the best decision for Tiffin University. The GLIAC has been a great conference for us over the last 9 years and our decision to join the G-MAC has nothing to do with our ability to compete; we have demonstrated that over and over again across sports teams. Joining the G-MAC is about a better alignment with our institutional focus of offering a high value and affordable education."
"I am excited about our move to the Great Midwest Athletic Conference," said Athletic Director Lonny Allen. "It is going to be nice to be in a conference with schools that we have been associated with historically for over 30 years. Many of these schools have enjoyed the same process of moving from NAIA to NCAA Division II and it will be nice to join forces again. It has been a highly rewarding experience being a member of the GLIAC and we will not lose the relationships we have formed with those institutions. The GLIAC has really forced and allowed us to grow as an athletic department. We will always be honored to have been associated with the GLIAC and are also honored to be going into the G-MAC."
"The Great Midwest is pleased to welcome Tiffin University to membership," stated Great Midwest Commissioner Tom Daeger. "President (Dr. Lillian) Schumacher and Athletics Director Lonny Allen have developed a tremendous athletic department that is a perennial standout in Division II athletics, both regionally and nationally. The institution will make an immediate impact in the conference and maintains a shared vision on the future of the league."
Tiffin has been a member of the GLIAC since 2008 and has enjoyed some of its greatest successes and growth during that period. Tiffin University finished 34th of 320 schools in last year's Learfield Cup race. The finish continued Tiffin's upward trajectory in the national standings, a trend that places them amongst the fastest improving Division II athletic programs in the nation.
When Tiffin debuted in the Learfield Cup standings in 2008, they finished 205th. In the eight subsequent years, Tiffin has climbed in the standings each season. They finished 159th in 2009, 156th in 2010, 152nd in 2011, 130th in 2012, and 116th in 2013.
In 2014, the Dragons jumped to 62nd and followed that in 2015 with a final standing of 44th. With their 34th place finish in 2016, TU has jumped 171 spots in the standings over their 9 years as a Division II program. Through the 2016-17 winter season, Tiffin was recently ranked 17th in the nation during the winter season, trailing only Grand Valley State University amongst GLIAC institutions in the national standings. The Dragons are currently ranked 28th in the 2016-17 Learfield Director's Cup Standings that were released on March 30. Tiffin recently celebrated back-to-back NCAA Division II Men's Indoor Track & Field team titles that included three different events crowned as national champs.
"Tiffin is an ideal fit for the Conference and will support enhanced sport sponsorship and improved scheduling opportunities for all league members," said Daeger. "We are appreciative of the partnership that has been forged with the institution and eagerly await its contributions to the Conference."