Chris Paul wearing Lincoln (MO) shoes
Lincoln University (MO)

Lincoln University (MO) joins new conference

Lincoln University (MO) is headed to a new conference, becoming its first HBCU member.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) announced on Thursday that Lincoln University has been admitted to the Conference for full-time membership, following a unanimous vote of approval by the GLVC Council of Presidents on January 23.

“The GLVC Council of Presidents is pleased to unanimously endorse the recommendation from the league’s faculty athletics representatives to accept Lincoln University as our15th member,” said Dr. Sue Thomas, Truman State University President and Chair of the GLVC Council of Presidents. “Throughout the evaluation process, our institutional representatives were impressed with Lincoln’s enthusiasm, engagement, and strategic focus for the future. We welcome the Blue Tigers to the GLVC family.”

Lincoln will officially become the 15th GLVC member upon receipt of initiation fees, entitling the institution to voting privileges, and will begin regular season competition and be eligible for GLVC Championships in 2024-25.

“The addition of Lincoln University as the league’s first HBCU institution is a historic moment in the almost 45-year history of the Great Lakes Valley Conference,” said GLVC Commissioner Jim Naumovich. “President Dr. John Moseley and Vice President for Athletics Dr. Kevin Wilson, along with their leadership team, have generated a great deal of excitement and momentum about the future direction of the institution and the Blue Tigers intercollegiate athletic program, and we share in the enthusiasm that has been created with their move to the GLVC.”   

Founded in 1866 by members of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantries, Lincoln is a public, historically black, 1890 land-grant institution committed to providing excellent undergraduate and graduate degree programs to a diverse student population. Located in Jefferson City, Mo., Lincoln offers educational opportunities through teaching, research, and extension services while cultivating a nurturing, student-centered environment.

The Blue Tigers currently compete in NCAA Division II and have been a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) since 2010. Dating back to its first football game in 1920, Lincoln has a long and proud tradition of participation in collegiate athletics, as well as a history of national success. Most notably, Lincoln’s women’s track & field team has won 14 NCAA Division II National Championships in the past 20 years and has combined with the men’s team to win 14 MIAA Championships.

Despite being a full member of the MIAA, the Blue Tigers are no stranger to the GLVC, as Lincoln was a GLVC associate member in the sport of football from 2014-18.

“This is a significant day for the future of Lincoln University,” said Lincoln President Dr. John Moseley. “This puts us in a position athletically where we’ve leveled the playing field by realigning ourselves with others of similar size and similar fiscal commitment. This will also give us the opportunity to compete and recruit in areas where Lincoln already has a large alumni base.”

In addition to transitioning into the GLVC, the university announced that it will add three sports programs: baseball, men’s soccer, and women’s soccer. With its three new teams, the Blue Tigers will now sponsor 14 athletic programs, which also include the following sports: men’s and women’s basketball, women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s golf, softball, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, and men’s and women’s outdoor track & field.

“Commissioner Naumovich, his stellar team, and the evaluation committee were overwhelmingly encouraging throughout the entire process,” said Lincoln VP for Advancement, Athletics, & Campus Recreation Dr. Kevin Wilson. “On behalf of our dedicated student-athletes, faculty, staff, alumni, and administration, we are humbled to become the 15th member of such a competitive conference. Our shared values and mission truly result in a match made in the Midwest. We look forward to all of our athletic programs calling the GLVC home in 2024.”

The GLVC is currently one of the largest NCAA Division II conferences in the country, featuring 13 schools and 24 sports. The Conference was established in 1978 and made up of six schools in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, but has moved westward to include four Illinois schools and eight Missouri schools among its membership. The current members of the GLVC are: Drury University (Springfield, Mo.), University of Illinois Springfield (Springfield, Ill.), University of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, Ind.), Lewis University (Romeoville, Ill.), Maryville University (St. Louis, Mo.), McKendree University (Lebanon, Ill.), Missouri University of Science & Technology (Rolla, Mo.), University of Missouri-St. Louis (St. Louis, Mo.), Quincy University (Quincy, Ill.), Rockhurst University (Kansas City, Mo.), Southwest Baptist University (Bolivar, Mo.), Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo.), and William Jewell College (Liberty, Mo). 

The GLVC last expanded in 2018 with the addition of Southwest Baptist and Lindenwood University as its 15th and 16th members. However, Bellarmine University in 2019, as well as Lindenwood and charter member University of Southern Indiana in 2022 all resigned to reclassify to Division I, leaving current membership at 13 full-time institutions since the start of the 2022-23 academic year. Most recently, Upper Iowa University (Fayette, Iowa) was approved for membership in the GLVC, starting in the 2023-24 academic year, as the league’s 14th member.

Lincoln University (MO) joins new conference
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