The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and Northern Athletics Conference have announced they will launch a "Challenge Series" in football that will pit member schools from the two conferences against each other, beginning with the 2012 season.
The two NCAA Division III conferences have signed a four-year agreement in which home sites will alternate each year between NAC schools and MIAA schools. In the 2012 season, NAC schools will host the Challenge Series matchups, while MIAA institutions will host the 2013 matchups.
"The four-year Challenge Series is an outcome of several years' work, and we are very pleased to enter into football competition with the outstanding colleges of the NAC," MIAA Commissioner David Neilson said. "We look forward to the inaugural games next fall."
"The development and implementation of the series seemed to be a natural progression, as many of our teams were already playing one another in nonconference games," NAC Commissioner Steven Larson said. "We also had a bridge already built between the MIAA and the NAC, as Wisconsin Lutheran College had previously competed in the MIAA prior to the formation of the NAC."
Matchups for the series in 2012 will be determined based on each school's finish in the previous year's conference standings. For example, 2011 MIAA champion Albion will travel to 2011 NAC co-champion Benedictine in one of the seven matchups. Here is the complete schedule for the first year of the MIAA/NAC Challenge:
All games will take place on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. local time.
The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association is the nation's oldest collegiate athletic conference, founded in 1888. The MIAA consists of nine private liberal arts colleges from Michigan and northern Indiana. Member institutions are Adrian College, Albion College, Alma College, Calvin College, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Olivet College, Saint Mary's College and Trine University.
The Northern Athletics Conference was established in 2006. The NAC consists of 13 private colleges and universities from the shared-border states of Illinois and Wisconsin. Many have shared traditional rivalries dating back to predecessor conferences, the Lake Michigan Conference and the Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference. Member institutions are Alverno College, Aurora University, Benedictine University, Concordia University Chicago, Concordia University Wisconsin, Dominican University, Edgewood College, Lakeland College, Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Marian University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rockford College and Wisconsin Lutheran College.