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General - Thu, Nov. 3, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Trevecca Nazarene University has been approved for charter membership in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), the newest NCAA athletic conference - which is in the process of requesting approval from the NCAA to become the 24th conference in the Division II ranks.

Within the past month, Presidents and athletic directors from the newly formed athletic conference, that features five NCAA Division-II colleges and universities from Kentucky and Ohio, announced that the league would be named the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.

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"This step is the logical next one for Trevecca in our process of moving through the NCAA candidacy stage of and then moving toward full NCAA Division-II membership," said Trevecca athletic director Mark Elliott. "First, was the decision to apply for Division II, then acceptance to the candidacy status in July. We've made the financial and philosophical commitment and the next steps were to secure conference affiliation, sport offerings, and facility enhancements. We now have the conference affiliation."

With Trevecca, the six-member institutions include Cedarville University (Cedarville, Ohio), Central State University (Wilberforce, Ohio), Kentucky Wesleyan College (Owensboro, Ky.), Trevecca Nazarene University (Nashville, Tenn.), Urbana University (Urbana, Ohio), and Ursuline College (Pepper Pike, Ohio).

"The G-MAC schools are like-minded to Trevecca in a number of ways," Elliott said. "The mission of each school is very similar from a diversity perspective; there is a good mixture of faith-based schools and public schools."

There are a number of schools that have shown interest in the new conference. By the time the conference is expected to officially begin competition, the lineup of schools will more than likely have more additions.

"We have requested membership and were accepted by the G-MAC," added Elliott. "The timing of this was significant, since Trevecca will now be one of the charter members. This means we will be able to contribute to the writing of the constitution and the hiring of the first commissioner."

Several people have been key movers in the forming of the conference, but possibly no one more than the Athletic Director and President at Cedarville. Elliott explained, "Cedarville AD Alan Geist and President Dr. Bill Brown have already been a great resource for Trevecca in our move to Division II. There have been more influential people like Dave Williams, the AD at Kentucky Wesleyan, and former NFL great Kellen Winslow, who is the AD at Central State. Throughout the league you have some individuals representing institutions that Trevecca will be proud to associate with."

The new conference will begin competition in the 2013-2014 academic year, pending NCAA approval and the lifting of Division II's moratorium on new conference membership. The G-MAC would become the NCAA's 24th Division II conference.

If Trevecca stays on course, the 2013-2014 season would be Trevecca's provisional year in the move to NCAA Division II membership. The provisional year would allow Trevecca to compete for conference championships. 

Currently, Kentucky Wesleyan holds membership in the Great Lakes Valley Conference while the four Ohio schools are Division II independents.

The presidents issued a joint statement in October saying, "The Great Midwest Athletic Conference reflects the membership of similar institutions with parallel academic and athletic philosophies and resources. The geographical reference in the Conference's name represents the connection to NCAA Division II's Midwest region."

"The league administrators have been working diligently to create the structure needed to form a conference that will be desirable to other Midwest regional colleges and universities with similar philosophies. Expansion beyond the original six will be a priority moving forward. A number of schools have already met with G-MAC officials to explore joining the new conference."

The CEO's added, "We believe the G-MAC will become the model NCAA Division II conference with our focus on the whole student-athlete experience -academic success, social development, athletic performance, and character development."