By Kevin Schrock
This past June the University of Findlay announced a major change in the future of its athletic program. Since 1997 Findlay has been a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). However, starting on July 1, 2017, the Oilers will be competing in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) instead.
In the GLIAC the Oilers were competing against teams in Ohio and Michigan. The G-MAC will take Findlay a little further south. The Oilers’ new conference will include schools in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Currently the member institutions are Alderson Broaddus University, Cedarville University, Davis & Elkins College, Kentucky Wesleyan University, Ohio Valley University, Salem International University, Trevecca Nazarene University, and Ursuline College. Also making the switch to the G-MAC are a few fellow GLIAC members. Effective in the 2016-2017 school year Malone University will make the move to the G-MAC. Leaving the GLIAC and joining the G-MAC alongside Findlay will be Hillsdale College, Lake Erie College, Ohio Dominican University, and Walsh University.
The Oilers have seen its share of success in the GLIAC but are looking forward to the switch. According to The University of Findlay President Katherine Fell, there were multiple factors that went into the decision to switch. Among these were the fact that in the G-MAC the Oilers will be competing against schools with similar missions, enrollments, and athletic offerings.
The G-MAC is still a relatively young conference in its own right. They began discussions about creating the conference as an all Ohio Division II athletic conference in 2008, but it didn’t take long for them to realize that they would have to move out of the state. The conference officially began athletic competition for the first time in August of 2012. It enjoyed some early success in 2012-13 and the Oilers are excited to carry on the tradition in the coming years.
Drew Yontz is a baseball player for the University of Findlay and will compete in the G-MAC his senior season. He thinks the change will be good for them.
“As a baseball player I feel it will be a better situation for us traveling south in the early spring instead of north,” says Yontz. “We’ve played games the last few years where it was snowing while we were playing so maybe this can give us a chance to play in some warmer areas. I also look forward to playing new teams, meeting new players, and creating new rivalries.”
Despite all of the excitement surrounding the conference switch, the Oilers still have two years left in the GLIAC. They will look to make the most out of their last two years in the conference and finish their successful run in the GLIAC on a positive note.