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As of July 1, 2018, UW-Parkside Athletics is an official member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). The move was originally announced in September of 2017 when Chancellor Debbie Ford and Director of Athletics Andrew Gavin accepted an invitation from GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar and Dr. Donald Bachand, the president of Saginaw Valley State University and chair of the GLIAC Presidents Council. The invitation was extended with unanimous support from GLIAC membership.
Chancellor Ford describes upcoming competition in the GLIAC as “a new era for Ranger Athletics.” Ford said she is confident the GLIAC association will continue to advance the student-athlete experience at UW-Parkside. “Athletic competition at UW-Parkside and at the NCAA Division II level is about bringing new and valuable life experiences to our student-athletes,” Ford said. “I am confident that other members of the GLIAC share our commitment to student success and engaging our student-athletes with the community. The GLIAC also provides a great opportunity for our student-athletes to compete with programs in closer proximity to our campus. We look forward to a long and valued partnership with other members of the GLIAC."
"Joining the GLIAC officially marks the beginning of new opportunities for UW-Parkside Athletics, in a conference that geographically, institutionally, and athletically aligns perfectly with our mission at UW-Parkside," Gavin said. "Commissioner Dunbar and leaders from around the conference have welcomed us with such positive support and collegiality. Our student-athletes and teams will compete among the nation's best, and we are excited and motivated by that opportunity and challenge."
The GLIAC features 12 member institutions from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin, sponsoring 21 NCAA Division II sports. Founded in 1972, the GLIAC has developed into one of the most nationally competitive athletic conferences, both on the field and in the classroom.
"The GLIAC is extremely excited to welcome the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to the membership and we look forward to the Rangers beginning competition this fall," Dunbar said. "We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Chancellor Ford, Andrew Gavin, and the entire athletics department throughout this process. UW-Parkside is an institution that fits the conference geographically, academically and competitively. I am eager to watch Ranger Athletics student-athletes compete and become an influential part of our league for years to come."
Beginning in 2018-19, the conference will consist of Ashland University (Ashland, OH), Davenport University (Grand Rapids, MI), Ferris State University (Big Rapids, MI), Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI), Lake Superior State University (Sault Ste. Marie, MI), Michigan Tech University (Houghton, MI), Northern Michigan University (Marquette, MI), Northwood University (Midland, MI), Purdue University Northwest (Hammond and Westville, IN), Saginaw Valley State University (Saginaw, MI), Wayne State University (Detroit, MI), and UW-Parkside.
Parkside sponsors 15 sports: baseball, softball, volleyball, wrestling, men’s golf, and men’s and women's soccer, basketball, indoor/outdoor track and field, and cross country. The Rangers will compete as an independent in wrestling, which is no longer a GLIAC sponsored sport.
GLIAC Quick Facts
Ferris State won the national championship in men's basketball in 2018
Ashland was the national runner-up in 2018 after winning 73 games in a row
Grand Valley State finished at the runner-up in the 2018 Division II Learfield Sports Director's Cup Final Standings; Ashland finished 12th
Four schools earned top-5 finishes at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
The GLIAC announced 814 All-Academic & All-Excellence Spring Honorees