ASHLAND – The Ashland University Board of Trustees has affirmed the school’s decision to join the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.
The University, which has claimed four Division II national championships in the past seven years, will be the 14th member of the nine-year-old GMAC, which includes schools from Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. The conference will accommodate all 22 NCAA-sponsored sports currently offered at AU.
The Eagles will remain in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the 2020-21 academic year. AU was a founding member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference in 1978 and has been a GLIAC member since 1995.
“We are confident that this move best serves our student athletes, coaches and fans, cognizant of the fact that Ashland University has an excellent reputation as a DII school,” said AU President Carlos Campo. “Over the years, AU athletes have distinguished themselves as fine athletes and fine young men and women. We are looking forward to joining many schools we have known well over the years, as well as forging new traditions in the years ahead.”
The GMAC, headquartered in Indianapolis, includes Alderson Broaddus University, Cedarville University, the University of Findlay, Hillsdale College, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Lake Erie College, Malone University, Ohio Dominican University, Ohio Valley University, Tiffin University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Ursuline College and Walsh University. Davis & Elkins College, Mercyhurst University, Seton Hill University and Wheeling University are associate members in the sport of men’s lacrosse.
Findlay and Hillsdale are among AU’s oldest rivals, AU Director of Athletics Al King noted, and Ohio Dominican also has a shared history with the Eagles. In addition, seven of the GMAC member schools are a just day trip from the Ashland campus.
“This makes it easier for fans and parents to see more road games," King said. "It also makes it easier for the university and the athletic department to plan special events and fund-raising activities before or after road contests.”
As a member of the GMAC, the Eagles also will play schools in the Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Nashville metro areas, which King said he hopes will gain AU additional media exposure.
“Ashland is among Division II’s most accomplished athletic programs and is an ideal fit for the Great Midwest in mission, profile and dedication to the student-athlete experience,” said GMAC Commissioner Tom Daeger. “I commend President Campo and Athletic Director Al King’s leadership in developing this partnership and we look forward to focusing on the continued institution and conference success with the Eagles.”