GLIAC Adds Divisional Play…Midway through the Season

With zero fanfare and oddly enough after 5 weeks of play, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference decided to divide the 14 team league into North and South divisions and award 3 crowns each season…even this one. There will be GLIAC North and South divisional trophies and an overall champion.

The North Division:
GVSU
Saginaw Valley
Northern Michigan
Michigan Tech
Northwood
Ferris State
Indianapolis (I’ll explain that in a second)

The South Division:
Hillsdale
Ashland
Wayne State
Findlay
Tiffin
Ohio Dominican
Lake Erie College

This is the same format for other sports like basketball and volleyball where divisional titles and races are contested.

For a long time GLIAC football has been set up this way. The format’s only function though was establishing the scheduling rotation. In the current 10 game schedule, teams play all 6 division foes and 4 from the opposite division. Hillsdale misses Indianapolis, Northern Michigan, and Ferris State in league play for this year and the next…although the Bulldogs and Chargers keep their rivalry in tact by playing as week 1 non-conference opponents.

Why is Indianapolis in the North you may ask? Well, it has to do with the fact that since GLIAC member Lake Superior State does not play football that leaves a hole in the North division. UIndy plugs that hole as they are a football and swimming only member of the GLIAC and compete in the Great Lakes Valley for its other sports.

Here are head coach Keith Otterbein’s comments as reported by MLive.com and Jackson Citizen Patriot’s Mike Pryson today.

“I’ve been hoping that we would go that direction as a league,” Otterbein said. “But, this kind of caught me as a curve ball. It was one of those things that just kind of came out.

“I would like to see our league look at maybe going to a public division and a private division.”

In the meantime, instead of looking up at Grand Valley State in the GLIAC football race, Hillsdale is battling Wayne State for the first South Division trophy.

Otterbein said the two-division look, with seven teams in each division instead of one 14-team circuit, could make it easier for the league to expand.

“Walsh and Malone have been real adamant about trying to get into our league,” Otterbein said. “Urbana in Ohio has been trying to get in our league. So, there’s a potential for some more expansion.”

This year, the GLIAC added Lake Erie College and Ohio Dominican. Hillsdale’s football team travels to Columbus, Ohio, to play Ohio Dominican on Saturday.

“I think the face of our league over the next couple of years will continue to gradually shift and change until we get what’s best for us.”

There are no plans to have any sort of playoff between the two division winners, this year or in the foreseeable future.

“I don’t think you can,” Otterbein said. “I don’t think the playoff will ever happen, just with the timing of when the NCAA playoffs occur. The only way you could do it would be to leave the last date as to be determined. I don’t think that would ever happen.”

Thanks to Mike’s article (whole thing here) or I wouldn’t have known anything about this. In fact, there was a pretty good discussion going on over at the D2football.com board about potential division play.

Here are the current GLIAC standings (league games only) , broken down by the new divisional races as posted at the GLIAC site.

Be sure to tune into the Charger Comment podcast that is in the works and will be posted tomorrow to get my take on this.

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