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MIAA schools to add during potential Division II realignment

MIAA schools to add during potential Division II realignment

By Alex Hammak

The month of February saw multiple changes within one NCAA Division II Conference with close geographic ties to the MIAA. The Great Lakes Valley Conference, which has members in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, had two key teams depart for the “greener pastures” of NCAA Division I athletics and the Ohio Valley Conference. 

The University of Southern Indiana announced its plans to join Division I on Feb. 9. The Screaming Eagles will be joined in departing the conference with former MIAA school Lindenwood. The Lions, who were MIAA members from 2012-2019, announced their shift to Division I later in the month. 

What would happen if the MIAA recruited some schools to join its ranks? Here are some possibilities.

Wayne State

Wayne, Nebraska

Let’s reunite the old Central States Intercollegiate Conference. The CSIC was one of the toughest NAIA conferences in the nation from 1976-1989, as it contained Pittsburg State, Washburn, Fort Hays State, Emporia State, Missouri Western State, Missouri Southern State, Wayne State and UNK. Every member of the CSIC is now a member of the MIAA, except for Wayne State. The Wildcats face multiple eight-hour drives to Minnesota and North Dakota. In the MIAA, they will only face a couple when they travel to Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Baptist

Shawnee, Oklahoma

The Bison, based in the Oklahoma City suburb of Shawnee, would allow the MIAA to keep its Oklahoma City presence if Central Oklahoma were to depart for Division I. Central has aggressively improved its athletic facilities, with backing from UCO alum and Paycom CEO Chad Richison.  Rumors have swirled for multiple years of a move to Division I. Oklahoma Baptist has transitioned well from NAIA athletics to Division II athletics in the Great American Conference. 


Springfield, Missouri

Just up the road from Missouri Southern and Joplin on I-44, Drury is well known within the Division II ranks and within Southeast Missouri. Drury has won 23 NCAA national titles, 22 of which are with swimming programs. The Panthers also provide a powerhouse women’s basketball program. This would compliment the already existing MIAA powers in Central Missouri, Fort Hays State and UNK. 


Kansas City, Missouri 

Rockhurst University adds an important recruiting market in as they are in the heart of Kansas City. While Missouri Western (St. Joseph), Central Missouri (Warrensburg) and Washburn (Topeka) are a stone’s throw from Kansas City, Rockhurst gives the MIAA an institution right inside Kansas City.

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