The Great Plains Athletic Conference will consider expanding this summer. The University of Jamestown in North Dakota has applied for admission to the NAIA Conference beginning with the 2017-18 school year.
“Normally membership votes occur at our conference meetings in October or April”, said GPAC commissioner Corey Westra. “Given that we are in a tweener time in the schedule I am working with our executive council on whether or not to accelerate that process.”
Westra will lead a visitation committee to a school that he says mirrors many of those already in the league. Jamestown currently competes in the 10-member North Star Athletic Association.
“They are a faith-based institution and have tremendous facilities. There are a lot of positives on their side.”
Nebraska Wesleyan is leaving the league to join the Iowa Conference and that leaves the GPAC with 11 members. The College of Saint Mary in Omaha and Mount Marty in South Dakota do not offer football. Westra says while expansion would add another conference game to the football schedule it is more important to find the right fit.
“I think it is more important that we are institutions that look similar and act similar. The private, faith-based language in our constitution has not gone away and our presidents are very strong about that.”
Four Iowa schools are members of the GPAC: Briar Cliff, Dordt, Morningside and Northwestern.