Iowa Wesleyan to join SLIAC

Iowa Wesleyan men's basketball is 7-2 on the season so far.
Iowa Wesleyan athletics photo

The St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced today that Iowa Wesleyan College (Mount Pleasant, Iowa) has been approved for membership in the conference upon the institution’s successful completion of the NCAA exploratory year and acceptance as a provisional member of the NCAA.

Iowa Wesleyan, currently a member of the NAIA’s Midwest Collegiate Conference and Mid-States Football Conference, will begin competition in the SLIAC during the 2013-14 academic year. Iowa Wesleyan announced in October that its board of trustees voted to make application to the NCAA by Jan. 15, 2012.

"As chairman of the Presidents' Council of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, I am pleased to announce that Iowa Wesleyan College has applied for and been granted membership," said Dennis Golden, president of Fontbonne. "Iowa Wesleyan has demonstrated a commitment to the same values as our members relative to intercollegiate athletics and its role in the overall experience for student-athletes. I believe that IWC will be a positive addition to the conference and we welcome them to the SLIAC."

The school’s football program could find a home with other SLIAC schools in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. It would be the conference’s 11th team.

“We are pleased to welcome Iowa Wesleyan College as the 10th member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Our administrators are thoroughly impressed by the knowledge of, and commitment to, Division III demonstrated by president Jay Simmons and vice president Linda Buchanan, and their genuine belief that the NCAA and division are the appropriate place for the Tiger athletic programs,” SLIAC Commissioner William J. Wolper said. “The institution is a great fit for our conference, academically, athletically and philosophically. They align greatly with our current members, and we are confident they will be great partners as we continue to enhance the collegiate experience of our student-athletes.”

Iowa Wesleyan was chartered in 1842 as the Mount Pleasant Literary Institute, became Iowa Wesleyan University in 1855 and then Iowa Wesleyan College in 1912. To this day, Iowa Wesleyan maintains a close affiliation with the United Methodist Church. The school has 583 full-time undergraduates, according to the latest information the school filed with the U.S. Departument of Education.

 “Iowa Wesleyan is very pleased to be approved for membership in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference,” Iowa Wesleyan president Jay Simmons said. “We believe the schools in this conference are the right partners for our institution and our athletic programs. This is an important next step in our commitment to the future of Iowa Wesleyan Tiger athletics.”

Ten of Iowa Wesleyan’s 14 sports align with sports in which the SLIAC sponsors a championship including baseball, basketball (men and women), cross country (men and women), men’s golf, soccer (men and women), softball and volleyball. It also sponsors women’s golf, football, and men’s & women’s track and field, the latter of which is an invitational sport within the Conference. More than one-third of the student body at Iowa Wesleyan competes in intercollegiate athletics.

Following its exploratory year with the NCAA (2012-13), Iowa Wesleyan must complete a four-year provisional process before becoming a full NCAA member. As a SLIAC 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 postseason team tournaments. They are eligible to compete in championship tournaments in which the conference champion is determined (cross country and golf). Iowa Wesleyan has joined the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, a national organization that provides small colleges alternative venues for postseason competition.

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

The nine current members of the SLIAC are Blackburn, Eureka, Fontbonne, Greenville, MacMurray, Principia, Spalding, Webster and Westminster (Mo.). Spalding was the conference’s most recent addition, joining in 2009.