SLIAC resumes sponsorship of football
Six members of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and two affiliate members will be vying for the first SLIAC football championship since 1999, as the league reinstates conference play in the sport this fall.
Following nonconference play beginning this weekend, the eight teams will begin their battle for league honors September 27
Three SLIAC teams – Eureka, Greenville and MacMurray – previously played in the now-disbanded Illini-Badger Football Conference, and Blackburn, Principia and Westminster (Missouri) were affiliate members of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.
Those six teams are joining with new SLIAC football-only affiliate members Huntingdon and LaGrange, which previously played as independents.
“We are excited to return to the SLIAC (in football) and join our other sports against traditional rivals,” said MacMurray football coach Kyle Sweeney. “I believe competing in the same conference as their classmates do in other sports will provide a common base (for MacMurray football student-athletes) and build upon a unified school identity.”
“It is good to be in the all-sport conference,” said Greenville coach Eric Hehman. “It allows the teams to have better resources (Web site, tournaments, commissioner), our athletes will have more recognition, and it will develop more school pride.”
Coaches at Huntingdon and LaGrange welcomed the guaranteed seven games that conference membership brings and the opportunity to play in a competitive league.
“Being in a league also provides us with an identity, something we did not have as an independent,” said Huntingdon’s Mike Turk.
“We were extremely appreciative and excited when contacted about membership in the SLIAC,” said LaGrange’s Todd Mooney. “Now, our players have the opportunity to compete on the field and in the classroom with a great group of schools, rich in tradition.”
The SLIAC schools are eligible for selection to the Division III Football Championship via Pool B until the league qualifies in 2010 for automatic qualification.
The first conference matchups in late September pit Principia against LaGrange, Huntingdon against MacMurray, Westminster against Eureka and Greenville against Blackburn.
Huntingdon was selected by league coaches as preseason favorite to win the SLIAC title.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association