ICFB’s Northern Athletic and the NCAA’s Northern Athletics do not square with each other. They don't, and it's breakin' my heart. In fact, there are only four points of convergence (Aurora, Benedictine, Concordia and Lakeland). This is because our Northern Athletic overlaps more significantly with the CCIW, where there are the additional eight points of convergence. ‘Points of convergence’. I like this term. It’s kinda think tanky wonky, but works well in this context. Let’s circle back, shall we? The conference as currently constituted in ICFB maintains its membership in Illinois and Wisconsin, thus maintaining its consistency with the NCAA conferences (which might be an issue for some people). The NATH is essentially CCIW + NACC. And all is right with mid-level Midwestern football. I think. Let's assume it is and move on.
The Middle Atlantic has a rich yet convoluted history involving many institutions. You can't track the players without a scorecard (and even a scorecard may not help). It currently operates as three conferences, yet for football purposes operates as one. I think. Like I said, it's really difficult getting a handle on what's actually going on here. However, at one point this conference was known as the Middle Atlantic States CAA/CAC, and this is the moniker I’ve always been familiar with. So, Middle Atlantic States (MASC) it is. The ICFB MASC and the NCAA MAC overlap with nine schools. Into this mix comes Moravian and Ursinus, who are natural fits. And then the big move: Wesley. The Wolverines are one of the big guns, so where they play is significant. In the NCAA, they play in the NJAC (Skyline for us), which is just not a good fit. Wesley is in Delaware, not Jersey. Simply put, Wesley works better as a MASC school. Geographically and conceptually, the Wolverines are more aligned with these schools. And it should make for one helluva competitive football league, to boot. Look at that roster.
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Upper Plains = IIAC. Same reasons as the others above; no state names for conferences. There is a great deal of similarity between the ICFB and NCAA versions of the UPAC, as membership has been fairly stable over the years. We are returning Cornell and IA Wesleyan to the ranks. In addition, Grinnell is in the UPAC. While the Pioneers have been in the Midwest Conference for many years, they are the only Iowa school in that league, and I’ve always seen them as more affiliated with the Iowa schools in this league. So this is your Upper Plains Athletic Conference going forward. Note: the IIAC shifted its name to the American Rivers Conference in 2018. While this is a step in the right direction, we're gonna stick with Upper Plains.
North Bay = WIAC. The eight current members of the NCAA WIAC are suited up and ready for battle, along with the resuscitated program at Superior. Additionally, Parkside and Green Bay have been awarded football teams. I realize that the Rangers are regarded as a D-II school, and the Phoenix are regarded as D-I, and yet the fit here is exemplary. Structuring North Bay in this fashion also allows the MCC (see Division 3) to retain its full allotment of teams without going over quota. And the character of the WIAC remains intact as composed solely of Wisconsin schools.
Lewis & Clark
St John Fisher
Northern Lakes = MIAC. Picking up a theme here? A number of NCAA D-III conferences are named directly after states, which is a practice we don’t cotton to in Ideal. So we’re renaming these conferences to give them more of a regional feel. In the case of the Northern Lakes, the membership is quite similar to the MIAC. Macalester is welcomed as a full football partner. St Benedict, St Catherine and St Mary’s are not members in ICFB’s version (none play football anyway, and the former two are women’s colleges). In their place we bring in Northwestern College of MN, a football-playing school that could have fit in the UMAC (see Division 8), but is a dandy fit here. That's right, dandy. And we'll have none of this talk about UST getting kicked out by other members! Y'all play nice.
Northwestern College MN
St John's MN
St Thomas MN
IDEAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL
East Texas Baptist
Southwestern Univ TX
Sul Ross State
Middle Atlantic States
The Northern Conference = the OAC. Very literally, in this case. ICFB’s Northern Conference = NCAA’s OAC exactly. In fact, the last change that I’m aware of concerning this NCAA conference came in 1999, when Hiram departed. The NC is a model of stability, and I see no reason to change that. And we're walking.
The American Southwest (ASW) is also a hybrid league – going by alliances in the NCAA. Six of our schools listed above are in the NCAA’s ASC, while four others are in the SCAC. Do you see a merger on the horizon? I do. Belhaven and Louisiana College belong elsewhere (see the MVAC in Division 8). Now, combine six parts ASC with four parts SCAC (it’s okay, I used to be a bartender), and presto change-o you have an American Southwest that truly works for the people of this great nation. All that’s left is to award a football program to the University of Dallas…..and our work here is done [mic drop]. Oh wait, one more thing: there will be a new addition to the ASW for Season 2. Oooh, we have our second mystery guest! [additional mic drop].
The big news concerning the Northwest Conference involves the addition of Carroll, so let’s get that right out in front. I realized this would be a bold – possibly controversial – move, as the Fighting Saints are an NAIA school steeped in the Frontier Conference. Yet the more I looked at the conferences involved, the more convincing it became that the move should happen. The Frontier morphs into the Pac-Sun in Ideal, and is stocked with the directional schools of the northwest region. Carroll feels like more of an NWC school. So we gone and did it. Whitman is gaining a football program (huzzah), while Menlo resurrects theirs and rejoins the NWC. Simon Fraser, as the only school that competes in NCAA athletics from outside the US, clearly belongs here. The result is a 12-school regional conference that stretches from Montana to British Columbia to the Bay Area of California. Truly Northwest.
The Adirondack is taking the place of the Empire 8, although - as currently constituted - there are significant differences between the two. The four football-playing members of the E8 are in the Adirondack (Alfred, Hartwick, Fisher and Utica), while the SUNY schools are not. They have traipsed off to form their own league (see the Northland in Division 8). Traipsed, I tell you. Five additional football-playing schools who bolted for the Liberty League are returning to the ‘Dack (Hobart, RPI, St Lawrence, Union and Ithaca). Rochester's inclusion here is a no-brainer. Alfred St and Rochester Tech round out the roster, the latter obtaining a football program. Incidentally, RIT was a non-football playing member of the E8 for four decades, so they come full circle. Thus, you could say the Adirondack is an amalgamation of E8 + Liberty, with a couple of strays thrown in for good measure. Don’t take “strays” personally. Strays are loyal and fierce.
Central College IA
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