|Photo by Wade Gardner, d3photography.com|
The University of Wisconsin-Superior has applied for membership in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and could leave the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as soon as the 2015-16 academic year.
If the Yellowjackets leave the WIAC, they would be the only Division III member of the University of Wisconsin system not a member of the league. It could cost the conference its automatic bid in baseball.
"A multitude of reasons exist for the desired change in conference affiliation for Yellowjacket sports teams, including competitive balance, a decrease in travel and missed class time for student-athletes, as well as financial considerations," the school noted in a statement.
UW-Superior has been a member of the conference since 1913.
Superior, Wis., is in the northwest corner of the state and geographically isolated from everyone else in the conference. In addition, with 2,013 full-time undergraduate students, UW-Superior is by far the smallest school in the WIAC. (The other eight schools average 8,203 full-time undergrads.)
The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, with a school nearby in Duluth (St. Scholastica) and another in northern Wisconsin (Northland), would likely result in less missed class time for UW-Superior. The conference is expected to vote on Superior's membership application by the end of May.
If UW-Superior left the WIAC for the 2015-16 academic year, the conference would have just six baseball members. By 2018 the WIAC would lose its automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in baseball, unless the conference added a member or Division III rules changed.
UW-Superior is the only school in the WIAC without football.