By Dan Carr, Assistant AD for Media Relations
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) announced on Thursday (Jan. 26) that Lincoln University has been admitted to the Conference for full-time membership, following a vote of approval by the GLVC Council of Presidents on Monday.
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.
“This is a significant day for the future of Lincoln University,” said Dr. John Moseley, President of Lincoln University. “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.
“For me personally, bringing baseball back is special. It’s a sport that’s had a lot of history here at Lincoln, so I’m excited about its return. Soccer is a growing sport and will give us a chance to have an international presence. Adding these sports, in addition to joining the GLVC, will give us more opportunities to recruit students, not just student-athletes.”
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.
“This is an historic day for the GLVC,” said Jim Naumovich, Commissioner of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. “It’s the first time in the 45-year history of the conference that we’ve had an HBCU member. Under the leadership of Dr. Moseley, and what he’s done for Lincoln as the university president, and Dr. Wilson with intercollegiate athletics, it will be a great fit. There’s a lot of enthusiasm behind Lincoln University and we’re thrilled to welcome them into the league and begin competition in the fall of 2024.”
Founded in 1866 by members of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantries, Lincoln University 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 Lincoln Blue Tigers compete in NCAA Division II and have been a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association 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 an associate, football-only member of the conference from 2014-2018.
“Commissioner Naumovich, his stellar team and the evaluation committee were overwhelmingly encouraging throughout the entire process,” said Dr. Kevin Wilson, LU Vice President for Advancement, Athletics and Campus Recreation. “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.”
With its three new teams, Lincoln will now sponsor 14 athletic programs: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, men’s and women’s soccer, and softball.
The GLVC is currently one of the largest NCAA Division II conferences in the country, featuring 15 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 nine Missouri schools among its membership. Once Lincoln officially moves into the league in 2024, the membership of the GLVC will include: 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.), Upper Iowa University (Fayette, Iowa) and William Jewell College (Liberty, Mo).
“Joining the GLVC is a great move for us,” said Victor B. Pasley, President of the Lincoln University Board of Curators. “For two years, the Board of Curators have been discussing the need to join an athletic conference that is more appropriately aligned with LU’s size and values. The institutions in the GLVC are of similar size and similar values, and their investment in sports programs are about the same as LU’s. Joining this conference brings a level playing field for our programs, and allows us to become more competitive.”
Lincoln will begin national searches for a baseball coach and a director of soccer, who will serve as the head coach for both the men’s and women’s programs. All three programs will officially begin operation in the fall of 2023, and will begin playing opponents in 2024-25.
The baseball program, which started in 1970, will return to Lincoln after being discontinued following the 2016 season. The team will play its home games at Vivion Field, the home of the Jefferson City Renegades, a member of the MINK Collegiate Baseball League. Both of LU’s soccer programs, meanwhile, will play their home games on the field at Dwight T. Reed Stadium.
GREAT LAKES VALLEY CONFERENCE (GLVC)
The Great Lakes Valley Conference is one of the premier NCAA Division II conferences, made of 13 member institutions from three Midwest states (Illinois, Indiana, Missouri) and comprised of 8,000 student-athletes, 64,000 students and 600,000 alumni. Founded in 1978, the GLVC has grown to sponsor 24 Conference championships and is among the nation’s elite in academic and athletic success. GLVC schools have captured 20 NCAA Division II national championships, including 11 on the men’s side – seven of which are in basketball – and the most recent coming for University of Indianapolis women’s lacrosse in 2022. Among the 23 NCAA Division II conferences analyzed in the December 2021 report published by the national office, the GLVC ranked tied for third in the Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) at 69 percent and third in Academic Success Rate (ASR) at 85 percent for all student-athletes. The GLVC is also home to the GLVC Sports Network – the first NCAA Division II conference-wide digital streaming network that launched in 2014. GLVCSN can be found on GLVCSN.com, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Roku devices, as well as iOS and Android mobile apps. For more information about the GLVC, visit GLVCsports.com.