Hillsdale College , a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member since 1975 will leave the conference in Fall 2017 and join the Great American Athletic Conference (GMAC).
It had been rumored as a possibility on the D2football.com message board since Spring and became official today.
In a release from Hillsdale, President Larry Arnn stated, “Hillsdale College student-athletes have benefited from the GLIAC’s high standards of athletic competition and sportsmanship for the past 40 years. We are grateful for the opportunities the GLIAC has provided for Hillsdale College and our athletes, and we are excited to begin this new chapter in Hillsdale Athletics history.”
Hillsdale Head Football Coach Keith Otterbein shared his insight with me this afternoon, “It’s a big change but one in the long-run we are excited about because it gives us an opportunity to be surrounded by much more similar, like-minded institutions.”
“This is a lot more than a football move. It’s about securing health and well-being for our entire athletic department.”
Also leaving the GLIAC for the GMAC are Findlay, Ohio Dominican, Lake Erie, Walsh, and Malone.
In its release today, the GMAC offered this explanation on how it sees this group of schools fitting into the mix.
“The Great Midwest Athletic Conference is pleased to welcome five new members to the league who will significantly assist in the growth and prosperity of the G-MAC in NCAA Division II,” said G-MAC Commissioner Tom Daeger. “Findlay, Hillsdale, Lake Erie, Ohio Dominican and Walsh, embrace similar ideologies to those of current G-MAC members and are a tremendous fit. They also share the desire of seeking excellence in academics, athletics and in the personal development of student-athletes.”
“It is evident that the commonalities among these institutions, the league’s most recent addition Malone and current league members, will be the cornerstone of a strong, collaborative Midwest regional affiliation,” he added. “These institutions have illustrated a desire to support each other not only in athletic endeavors, but with opportunities in all aspects of institutional development.”
This change does not take effect until the Fall of 2017. Hillsdale and the other schools had to give the GLIAC prescribed notice to avoid contractual fees.
Otterbein also told me that the previously set 2016 GLIAC Football schedule is being reworked and that when the Chargers do officially start play in the GMAC that there looks to be some potential for maintaining some of the previous GLIAC rivalries through non-conference scheduling.