Iowa Wesleyan to join UMAC

After an exploratory year in Division III, Iowa Wesleyan will be eligible for UMAC membership in football for the 2013 season and will start adding even more purple to the D-III landscape.
Iowa Wesleyan athletics photo

Following the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference’s Council of Presidents meetings on Monday, the league invited Iowa Wesleyan College to join the conference as an associate member for the sport of football, conditional upon the institution’s successful completion of the NCAA Division III exploratory year in 2012-13 and acceptance as a provisional member of the NCAA Division III beginning with the 2013-14 academic year.

Iowa Wesleyan accepted the presidents’ invitation, and will begin playing in the UMAC in 2013, assuming NCAA Division III provisional status is granted.

The Tigers will take the hole in the UMAC football schedule left by Presentation, which leaves the conference for all sports at the end of the 2011-12 academic year and will participate as a Division III independent. Iowa Wesleyan will bring the number of football programs in the conference back to 10 and would be eligible for the NCAA Division III playoffs in 2017. They are coached by Tom Parkevich, who took the job earlier this offseason after helping build the St. Scholastica program from the ground up as defensive coordinator.

Iowa Wesleyan, in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is currently a member of the NAIA’s Midwest Collegiate Conference and Mid-States Football Conference. The Tigers will begin competition as a provisional member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, an NCAA Division III league, during the 2013-14 academic year, while joining four other SLIAC schools -- Eureka, Greenville, MacMurray and Westminster (Mo.) -- as a UMAC associate member for football. Iowa Wesleyan announced its application for membership to NCAA Division III in October 2011.

Iowa Wesleyan's undergraduate enrollment of 583, according to the school's most recent report to the U.S. Department of Education, makes it among the smallest schools sponsoring football in Division III. The Tigers finished 4-7 this past season.

“The UMAC is pleased to have Iowa Wesleyan join our league for football,” said Corey Borchardt, UMAC commissioner. “Iowa Wesleyan shares a similar mission and vision as well as exhibits values that concur with the rest of our league members. We feel the Iowa Wesleyan football program aligns well with our current football members and will be a great fit as our conference continues to develop.”

"Iowa Wesleyan is very pleased to be approved for associate membership in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference," college president Jay Simmons said. "We believe that the schools in this conference are the right partners for our institution and our football program. This is an important next step in our commitment to the future of Iowa Wesleyan Tiger athletics."

Following its exploratory year with the NCAA in 2012-13, Iowa Wesleyan must complete a four-year provisional process before becoming a full NCAA member. As a UMAC associate member during the NCAA provisional phase, the Tigers will be eligible for conference regular season competition and awards, but will not be eligible to compete in the NCAA postseason.

"There is a long and proud tradition in Tiger athletics," Mike Hampton, Iowa Wesleyan  athletics director, said. "The move to NCAA Division III and the UMAC for football provides new opportunity to continue that tradition of success. We look forward to competitive opportunities for our student-athletes in this arena.”

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