The Ashford University athletic program will have a new home when the next sports season begins. The school will begin competing in the Association of Independent Institutions this fall.
Ashford athletic director Meg Schebler says the A-I-I is a group of schools who compete at the NAIA level without a traditional conference home. The Clinton school had been a member of the Midwest Collegiate Conference but was voted out of the league over a year ago due to its “for profit” status.
Schebler says geographical limitations had a number of schools that didn’t have a conference affiliation, and she says this association beings those schools together. The A-I-I has schools across the country, with over 30 members that have the same type of conference tournaments and activities as other conferences.
Schebler says they will not be required to play all of the other schools in the Association and because of their proximity to several other NAIA leagues scheduling has not been difficult. “Our schedule will not change all that much, we’ll play maybe a few more schools from the Chicagoland area, maybe a few more schools from the Kansas City and St. Louis area,” She says.
Schebler says while excited with the new arrangement the school has not shut the door on a future return to a traditional conference. She says this is the best opportunity for them right now, but won’t limit themselves if other opportunities arise. Ashford finished third in the all sports standings in its final school year as part of the MCC.