MIDLAND, MICH. – The Northwood University Athletic Department will move its athletic conference affiliation including all of its 18 NCAA Division II varsity sports from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) to the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) beginning the 2022-2023 academic year.
The change is effective July 1, 2022. The Northwood Timberwolves will remain a member of the GLIAC through the 2021-2022 sports seasons and begin GMAC play in fall of 2022. Northwood has been a member of the GLIAC since 1992.
"We are excited about joining the GMAC in 2022," said Northwood President Kent MacDonald. "The GMAC gives our student athletes the chance to compete in a small private school conference with institutions of similar size, shared values, independent philosophy, scholarship levels and focus on a high quality academic experience. It is a great fit for us. We believe it opens new opportunities for our student athletes, as well as increasing our Institution's footprint and reach across the country. Northwood University sees this move as a unique opportunity that aligns well with our growth plans, and we appreciate the GMAC members welcoming us."
The GMAC is a NCAA Division II athletic conference with full member institutions located in Michigan and Ohio, and single members in Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee. The conference, established in 2011, consists of private, non-profit member institutions and sponsors 23 conference championship sports offerings. In addition to Northwood, the league's full members include: Ashland University, Cedarville University, University of Findlay, Hillsdale College, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Lake Erie College, Malone University, Ohio Dominican University, Tiffin University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Ursuline College and Walsh University. Eight of the GMAC members are former GLIAC institutions.
"While we have had great competition in the GLIAC for many years, we have the opportunity to join a rising NCAA DII conference with the GMAC," said Northwood Athletic Director Dave Marsh. "This gives our student athletes the chance to compete in a small private school conference with institutions of similar size, independent philosophy, scholarship levels and enrollment driven approaches. As eight of the GMAC members are formerly GLIAC members, we already have built relationships and rivalries with most of them.
"We have been assessing this opportunity for quite some time. It has been a very thoughtful decision, but as we continued to weigh the pros and cons we felt this was the right time in our University's history to make the move."
Since so many current members of the GMAC are former members of the GLIAC, and have played Northwood many times in the past, there is familiarity on both sides during the transition as some traditional rivalries are renewed.
"The addition of Northwood as our conference's newest member is an action we are excited to announce," stated Great Midwest Commissioner Tom Daeger. "Northwood, as a long-standing NCAA Division II member, has a strong reputation of academic and athletic excellence and will be a valued member of the Great Midwest. The institution is an ideal fit for our alignment and I anticipate the Timberwolves' contributions across the spectrum of Great Midwest programs and competition to be immensely impactful."