Missouri State Will Join Mid-American Conference in Men's Swimming
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Mid-American Conference announced Friday that Missouri State University, along with the University of Evansville and Southern Illinois University, have signed a six-year agreement to serve as affiliate members of the conference in men's swimming and diving through the 2014-15 school year. The change will take effect for the upcoming 2009-2010 season.
Previously, the three Missouri Valley Conference member institutions were affiliate members of the Sun Belt Conference in men's swimming and diving. The MVC discontinued its men's swimming and diving championship after the Bears won the 2003 meet. MSU swam independently until 2006-07 when it joined the Sun Belt, finishing third in its inaugural SBC meet, winning the Sun Belt title in 2007-08 and finishing second in 2008-09.
"It's certainly an honor for the consortium of schools from our conference to be invited to participate in the MAC for men's swimming and diving," said Missouri State Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. "The quality and tradition of the MAC makes sense for us from a competitive standpoint, and it will result in a better situation for our student-athletes."
Missouri State head coach Jack Steck noted that his team is appreciative of its three-year stint with the Sun Belt Conference.
"The Sun Belt took us in when the number of swimming teams in the Missouri Valley dropped to three," said Steck. "It was a pleasure to be able to compete in their championship meet since that time, and we are grateful for the opportunity the Sun Belt gave us."
Steck, who coaches both the men's and women's programs at Missouri State said that the MAC's postseason schedule was also appealing when considering the league's invitation.
"The thing that really appealed to me is the two-week interval between the men's and women's championship meets in the MAC," Steck said. "With me coaching both teams, that will really be an improvement for our student-athletes in terms of the time we can devote to each team before their conference meet. I feel we will be very competitive and comfortable in our new conference, and I am really excited about the transition."
Missouri State's women's swimming and diving program still competes in the Missouri Valley Conference, which offers a championship event in the women's division. Missouri State, Evansville, Southern Illinois, Illinois State and Northern Iowa are the five MVC women's swimming programs.
"I am extremely pleased to welcome the addition of these three fine institutions as affiliate members of the Mid-American Conference," said Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. "With all three joining us in a long-term relationship, we look forward to working with their fine student-athletes and athletic staff and certainly welcome them to our family of institutions."
The addition of the three new affiliate members brings the number of schools competing in men's swimming and diving in the MAC to seven, joining current league members Ball State, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan and Miami (Ohio). The 2010 MAC Men's Swimming and Diving Championship will take place March 3-5 at Eastern Michigan University.
Missouri State is also an affiliate member of the MAC in the sport of field hockey.