The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is Expanding in 2016-17

Jul 23, 2015

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) will expand to nine member institutions as league officials announced Monday (July 20) Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Neb., has accepted an invitation to join the conference beginning with the 2016-17 academic year.

The invitation was approved by Nebraska Wesleyan's Board of Governors and accepted by IIAC presidents on July 13, 2015. The announcement was made at a press conference held in Snyder Arena on the NWU campus Monday afternoon.

"The members of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference look forward to Nebraska Wesleyan University's participation," saidDr. Jay Simmons, Simpson College President and 2015-16 chair of the Iowa Conference Presidents' Council. "Their mission and purpose perfectly complement those of our current members. Moreover, as the Iowa Conference undertakes a comprehensive strategic planning process, Nebraska Wesleyan's participation will advance our work as we position the IIAC for the future."

Nebraska Wesleyan is currently affiliated with both NCAA Division III and the NAIA – the only school in the country with dual affiliation. Currently a member of the NAIA's Great Plains Athletic Conference, Nebraska Wesleyan will be an exclusive member of NCAA Division III effective July 1, 2016.

"Nebraska Wesleyan University is delighted to join the Iowa Conference," said NWU President Dr. Fred Ohles. "We value the academic rigor and balance that are part of the NCAA Division III philosophy and the Nebraska Wesleyan philosophy. We look forward to the opportunity of fully integrating our entire athletic program with other NCAA Division III schools."

Today's announcement marks the first addition to the Iowa Conference since Coe College and Cornell College joined in 1997 and the first change in the conference's membership since Cornell returned to the Midwest Conference after the 2011-12 academic year. Nebraska Wesleyan will be the 20th institution to compete as a member of the 93-year old IIAC.

"I am honored to welcome Nebraska Wesleyan to our conference family," said Iowa Conference Commissioner Chuck Yrigoyen. "Our institutions are rivals in competition, but united in our overall commitment to each other. We constantly strive to instill conference pride and camaraderie in every student-athlete, coach and campus community member. Yes, we eagerly anticipate the all-important conference schedule of games, but we are equally passionate about our collaborative efforts to be a premier academic and athletic experience for the young women and men we serve."

Founded in 1922, the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is among the best NCAA Division III athletic conferences in the country. The IIAC is comprised of eight private, faith-based liberal arts colleges and universities in Iowa: Buena Vista University (Storm Lake, Iowa), Central College (Pella, Iowa), Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), University of Dubuque (Dubuque, Iowa), Loras College (Dubuque, Iowa), Luther College (Decorah, Iowa), Simpson College (Indianola, Iowa) and Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa). Currently, the IIAC sponsors 21 sports including wrestling, which NWU will add next year. Iowa Conference schools have accounted for 34 NCAA Division III national championships in the history of the league.

"The fit between Nebraska Wesleyan and the Iowa Conference is natural, because the member schools have similar missions, values and goals," said NWU Athletic Director Dr. Ira Zeff. "Joining the IIAC enhances our competitive position in NCAA Division III athletics including greater opportunities for postseason play."

Nebraska Wesleyan has a rich history of NCAA Division III success. Athletically, NWU has celebrated an NCAA Division III National Championship in men's golf and postseason competition with men's basketball (five NCAA Final Fours; 14 tournament appearances) and track & field/cross country (18 top-four finishes).  The institution also has had the honor of hosting three NCAA Division III championships in golf and one NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championship. Academically, NWU is among the most recognized institutions in the country for NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships (fifth in nation with 49) and CoSIDA Academic All-Americans® (eighth in nation with 153).

About Nebraska Wesleyan University
Founded in 1887, Nebraska Wesleyan University serves an enrollment of approximately 2,100 students and an athletics department that — with the addition of wrestling — will sponsor all 21 of the IIAC's officially recognized sports (11 men's, 10 women's). Currently a member of the NAIA's Great Plains Athletic Conference and a dual member of the NCAA and NAIA, Nebraska Wesleyan will compete in the IIAC and NCAA Division III in football, volleyball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's swimming and diving, baseball, softball, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's outdoor track and field and wrestling.

For more information on the Iowa Conference, visit For more information on Nebraska Wesleyan University, visit or On Twitter, follow the IIAC at @IIACathletics and NWU athletics at @NWUSports.