Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Monday, June 15, 2009 GLIAC Eyes Expansion

GLIAC eyes expansion
by Kyle Austin | Booth Mid-Michigan
Sunday June 14, 2009, 6:00 AM

The President's Council of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will vote Tuesday whether to add two more schools to the league in the fall of 2010.

Lake Erie College, located in Painesville, Ohio (30 miles east of Cleveland), and Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio, are the schools considered for addition, league spokesman Jeff Ligney said.

If voted in, the schools would become full members on July 1, 2010.

Total league enrollment currently stands at 12 full members and two associate members. Ligney said the plan is to eventually expand to 16 full members, which would make scheduling easier as well as cut down on travel costs.

"Sixteen is a good number," Ligney said. "It kind of insulates us from any radical changes from our membership."

With the expanded conference could come a split into two divisions for football, similar to the model the league already uses in basketball and volleyball. Saginaw Valley State Athletic Director Mike Watson said that football division was discussed at last week's Executive Council meeting in Gaylord, when school administrators recommended the expansion, but that no specific plan is set in stone yet.

"There's all types of models on the table right now," Watson said.

Ligney said expansion would cut down on travel costs by increasing the number of conference matchups, and thus decreasing the number of non-conference opponents a school would have to find and schedule, and that the round number of teams would make scheduling less difficult.

The 37-year-old GLIAC last expanded when Tiffin University in Ohio became a member for the 2008-09 school year. That followed the departure of Gannon and Mercyhurst, two schools in Pennsylvania, to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference before the academic year. Following their departure, all full member schools are in either Michigan or Ohio.

Lake Erie has a total enrollment of about 1,200 and sponsors 18 varsity sports. Ohio Dominican has about 3,000 students and sponsors 14 sports.

"We voted as athletic directors to bring in these two new institutions," Watson said. "I think that the location of the institutions will help the profile of the GLIAC, being in Cleveland and Columbus."

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