ST. PAUL, Minn.—The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) announced Tuesday, June 9, that Iowa Wesleyan University will formally withdraw as a football-only associate member effective with the end of the 2020-2021 academic year (June 30, 2021).

Iowa Wesleyan intends to apply for membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) citing institutional alignment with the philosophy and goals of the NAIA along with a better geographic fit. The University joined the UMAC for football only in 2013 during Iowa Wesleyan’s transition to NCAA Division III.

“The UMAC is disappointed to have Iowa Wesleyan leave our conference as an associate member,” said UMAC Commissioner Corey Borchardt. “Iowa Wesleyan has been a positive contributor to the conference in football and has upheld the conference’s mission and core values over the last seven years. We recognize the challenges that exist within the current landscape of higher education and understand and respect the difficult decision made by Iowa Wesleyan’s leadership to best serve the institution’s student-athletes.”

Per NCAA bylaws, the UMAC will still maintain its automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III championships for football for a minimum of two years (through the 2022-2023 academic year) following the departure of Iowa Wesleyan as the conference solidifies other membership developments in the interim that will better position UMAC football programs to fulfill the established vision and long-term goals of the conference.

Earlier this offseason MacMurray announced they were closing their doors, while St. Scholastica announced they would be joining the MIAC following the 2020-21 academic year.


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