Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Press Release
The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) is pleased to announce the addition of Davenport University and Purdue University Calumet after formally accepting invitations for membership at the 2016 NCAA Convention in San Antonio, pending acceptance into the NCAA membership process.
GLIAC membership privileges for both Davenport and Purdue Calumet are contingent upon each institution being accepted into and excelling through the NCAA Division II membership program, a multiyear endeavor that prepares institutions for membership as successful Division II athletics programs.
"We are pleased to announce the approval of GLIAC membership by our Council of Presidents for Davenport University and Purdue University Calumet," stated GLIAC Commissioner Dell Robinson. "We are excited to have these two institutions be the newest members of the conference and look forward to the opportunities and positive attributes they will bring to our league."
Both athletic departments anticipate beginning GLIAC competition in the 2017-18 academic year as a provisional member of the NCAA. With the addition of DU and PUC, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will consist of 12 full-time members starting in 2017-18.
Davenport and Purdue Calumet are currently successful members in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Panthers of Davenport University are located in Grand Rapids, Mich., while the Peregrines of Purdue Calumet hail from Hammond, Ind. just outside the Chicago metropolitan area.
"We are excited to be extending an invitation to Purdue University Calumet and Davenport University to join the GLIAC," said Northwood University President and GLIAC Council of Presidents Chair Dr. Keith Pretty. "We are confident they will be successful in their bid to gain NCAA Division II status, and then join the GLIAC as full members in 2017-18."
This expansion will be the first for the GLIAC since Malone University and Walsh University joined the conference back in 2012.
Davenport carries a sports portfolio of 20 NAIA programs, including a football team that will take the field in the fall of 2016 for its inaugural season. Athletic Director Paul Lowden has grown the DU brand from two programs in 2002 to 33 varsity and non-varsity sports in 2015-16. The Panthers have displayed dominance as a member of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) and are five-time reigning WHAC All-Sports Trophy winners dating back to 2011.
"We are very pleased to receive an invitation to join the GLIAC," said Dr. Richard Pappas, President of Davenport University. "We have worked diligently to build an athletic program that would be competitive at this level and we look forward to the many ways this will benefit our students, this institution, and other GLIAC member schools. We have enjoyed our previous athletics affiliation with the NAIA and the rivalries within the WHAC. We look forward to the new challenges and new rivalries as a member of GLIAC."
"It has been fulfilling and gratifying to experience the growth in Davenport University Athletics over the past 14 years," said Paul Lowden, Athletic Director of Davenport University. "It has been a long-standing vision for Davenport to develop our programs to meet NCAA Division II standards. Our administration, coaches and student-athletes are prepared to demonstrate that Davenport University will be a model NCAA Division II institution and a successful member of the GLIAC. I would like to truly thank WHAC leaders and Athletic Directors for their support over the years. I greatly appreciate the relationships that have been fostered during our time in the conference and in the NAIA."
"Davenport University has shown strong presidential leadership throughout the conference expansion process," stated Robinson. "The facility additions and improvements will only enhance the student-athlete experience for their institutions and student-athletes throughout the GLIAC. We look forward to working together to take this conference to the next level."
Purdue Calumet Director of Athletics Rick Costello is in his fourth year of overseeing the Peregrines' intercollegiate athletic program that sponsors 13 varsity sports with over 200 student-athletes. Costello has directed the athletic unification of Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central into a single Purdue University Northwest program, which will compete as a singular athletic program in 2016-17, pending Higher Learning Commission approval. Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central will continue to compete separately during the 2015-16 academic year.
"Being invited into the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, as we anticipate our transition to Purdue University Northwest, aligns us with a group of institutions similar to PNW in size, philosophy and academic commitment," Purdue Northwest Chancellor-Designate Thomas L. Keon said. "We are excited about the opportunity to join a conference with the prestige of GLIAC, which will motivate our teams and student-athletes to compete and succeed at the next level."
"Today is an amazing day for Purdue University Calumet and our Athletics program," said Costello. "The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is a conference comprised of outstanding universities. We look forward to competing in a league that is focused on developing academic and athletic champions. We are excited to apply to NCAA Division II in 2016 and join the GLIAC in 2017."
"Purdue University Calumet's Presidential and athletics staff have been visionary in their pursuit of the GLIAC," commented Robinson. "The institution will help grow the GLIAC brand into the Indiana/Illinois market, a standing objective of our strategic plan. The athletics facility additions will continue to allow student-athletes to participate at first-class facilities."
The expansion efforts of the GLIAC were aided by the services of Athletics Staffing & Consulting (ASC), which provides colleges and universities a wide range of search opportunities from identifying a list of recommended candidates to conducting the entire search, and from identifying prospective employees to assisting with negotiating contracts. ASC specializes in finding conferences, colleges and universities the proper staff fit and bringing a diverse group of candidates to the search process. ASC consulting services consist of feasibility studies, strategic plans, compliance reviews, NCAA/NAIA reclassification studies/transitions, conference membership options, Title IX reviews, and fundraising strategies.