The Clarke College athletic program has joined the Association of Division three independents. The school had been a part of the Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference since 1996 but that league disbanded at the end of this past season.

Athletic director Curt Long says they’re in the process of applying to the Northern Athletics Conference, and are waiting for that to happen. In the meantime they are part of an association of independent schools.

Clarke had a chance to move to the new conference right away but turned down the offer. He says the Midwest Conference asked them to join, but he says they got to a certain point in the process and decided they didn’t want to expand.

Long says the Association will give athletes at the school a chance to earn individual honors that they would not get if the school competed without an affiliation.