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Great West Conference
Established2004
AssociationNCAA
DivisionDivision I
Members5 full-time [1 in 2013-14], 7 affiliate [4 in 2013-14]
Sports fielded15 (men's: 5; women's: 9)
RegionMidwest and West
Former namesGreat West Football Conference
HeadquartersNaperville, Illinois
CommissionerEd Grom
Websitewww<wbr/>.greatwestconference<wbr/>.org
Locations

The Great West Conference is an NCAA college athletic conference in the continental USA. Originally a football-only league, it became an all-sports entity during the 2008-09 season. The GWC stopped sponsoring football following the 2011 season.

HistoryEdit

Cal Poly, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, Southern Utah, and UC Davis inaugurated the Great West Football Conference during the 2004 season. St. Mary's (CA) was originally slated to join as well, but then dropped the sport six months before the league started play. In 2005, Cal Poly became the first GWFC team ever selected to participate in the NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) playoffs.

Northern Colorado departed the Great West for the Big Sky Conference in every sport as of the 2006 football season and 2006-07 academic year. On March 7, 2007, North Dakota State and South Dakota State announced that they would leave the GWFC after the 2007 football season, and join the Gateway Football Conference as of 2008.[1] By the time the two schools actually made the switch, the Gateway had renamed itself the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The duo also placed their other sports, which were then independent, in the Summit League as of the 2008-09 academic year.

On August 2, 2007, North Dakota and South Dakota announced that they would join the Great West Football Conference as of the 2008 season. This agreement allowed the total number of GWFC programs to remain consistent at five, while also retaining the same geographic footprint.

On July 10, 2008, it was made official through a series of press conferences that the Great West would soon transition from a football-only league into an all-sports conference. The charter members included North Dakota, South Dakota, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Houston Baptist, Texas-Pan American, and Utah Valley.[2] On October 22, 2008, Chicago State announced plans to join the newly rechristened GWC as well. Seattle was initially considering membership, but in mid-2011 accepted an invitation to instead join the WAC as of the 2012-13 academic year.

The expanded version of the Great West officially began playing a limited number of sports in the fall of 2008. Despite not sponsoring conference schedules in team sports (except football), the league began awarding "Player of the Week" honors to student-athletes in every sport during the 2008-09 season. The Great West featured championships in men's and women's cross country, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's outdoor track and field, men's and women's golf, and women's tennis during the 2008-09 academic year. In 2009-10, regular season schedules and championship tournaments were implemented in women's volleyball, women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, baseball, and softball.

Due to its newness, the league does not currently have an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but the Great West Conference men's basketball tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT),[3] while the women's basketball tournament winners head to the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI), provided they are not selected as an at-large bid to the NIT.

In April 2010, South Dakota publicized intentions to join the Summit League for all sports but football, effective as of the 2011-12 academic year. Seven months later, in November 2010, the school would announce a commitment to the MVFC for football as of the 2012 season. In September 2010, Cal Poly and UC Davis announced that they would join the Big Sky Conference for football by 2012.[4] Then, in November 2010, Southern Utah and North Dakota announced that they would join the Big Sky for all sports by 2012. South Dakota was considering the Big Sky as well, thus canceling the Summit League commitment, before the MVFC offered football-only membership.

With these moves, all football programs would soon leave the Great West, and the league stopped sponsoring the sport following the 2011 season. South Dakota stepped down to football-only status during the 2011-12 academic year, allowing the league to retain five teams in its final season on the gridiron. Overall the conference lost two full members—South Dakota and North Dakota—and six affiliates by the fall of 2012. The affiliate teams were Cal Poly, UC Davis, and Southern Utah in football; Nebraska-Omaha in softball; as well as multi-sport partners Cal State Bakersfield and Seattle.

In November 2011, Houston Baptist reached an agreement to join the Southland Conference as of the 2013-14 academic year. The school also unveiled plans to begin sponsoring football. In September 2012, Utah Valley announced plans to join the Western Athletic Conference for the 2013-14 season. At the beginning of December 2012, UTPA has announced that had received an invitation to join the WAC for 2013-14 school year. On December 5, 2012, Chicago State announced that it would also join the WAC in 2013-14, and two weeks later, UTPA accepted their invitation.

This sudden wave of defections left NJIT as the only full member of the Great West Conference. This places the future of the league as an all-sports conference in serious doubt, along with the baseball alignment of NJIT and NYIT. However, barring further changes, the women's soccer grouping of NJIT, Delaware State, Howard, and South Carolina State remains viable with four women's soccer playing entities.

Member schoolsEdit

Current membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Joined Nickname
Chicago State University Chicago, Illinois 1867 Public 7,131 2008 Cougars
Houston Baptist University Houston, Texas 1960 Private 3,100 2008 Huskies
New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, New Jersey 1881 Public 9,944 2008 Highlanders
University of Texas–Pan American Edinburg, Texas 1927 Public 17,048 2008 Broncs
Utah Valley University Orem, Utah 1941 Public 32,670 2008 Wolverines

Affiliate membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Joined Nickname Primary Conference Great West Sport
California State University, Bakersfield* Bakersfield, California 1965 Public 7,598 2011-123 Roadrunners NCAA D-I Independent men's outdoor track & field
women's outdoor track & field
Delaware State University Dover, Delaware 1891 Public 3,756 2009-10 Hornets MEAC women's soccer
Howard University Washington, D.C. 1867 Private 10,991 2009-10 Bison MEAC women's soccer
New York Institute of Technology Old Westbury, New York 1955 Private 12,755 2009-10 Bears East Coast
(NCAA Division II)
baseball
University of North Dakota** Grand Forks, North Dakota 1883 Public 14,697 2012-132 *None* Big Sky baseball
University of Northern Colorado1** Greeley, Colorado 1889 Public 12,981 2009-10 Bears Big Sky baseball
South Carolina State University Orangeburg, South Carolina 1896 Public 5,411 2009-10 Bulldogs MEAC women's soccer
Notes
  1. Northern Colorado left the Great West after the 2006 football season but returned as a baseball affiliate in 2009.
  2. North Dakota left the Great West in all sports after the 2011-12 academic year, but remains as a baseball affiliate.
  3. Cal State Bakersfield and Nebraska–Omaha were affiliates in women's tennis and softball, respectively, during the spring of 2012.

Former membersEdit

Institution Location Nickname Joined Left Current Conference
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, North Dakota *None* 2008 2012 Big Sky
University of South Dakota Vermillion, South Dakota Coyotes 2008 2011 (all else)
2012 (football)
Summit (all others)
MVFC (football)

Former affiliate membersEdit

Institution Location Nickname Joined Left Current Primary Conference Great West Sport
University of Northern Colorado Greeley, Colorado Bears 2004 2006 Big Sky football
North Dakota State University Fargo, North Dakota Bison 2004 2008 Summit (all others)
MVFC (football)
football
South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota Jackrabbits 2004 2008 Summit (all others)
MVFC (football)
football
Southern Utah University Cedar City, Utah Thunderbirds 2004 2012 Big Sky football
California Polytechnic State University
(Cal Poly)
San Luis Obispo, California Mustangs 2004 2012 Big West (all others)
Big Sky (football)
football
University of California, Davis
(UC Davis)
Davis, California Aggies 2004 2012 Big West (all others)
Big Sky (football)
football
Seattle University Seattle, Washington Redhawks 2010 2012 WAC men's indoor track & field
women's indoor track & field
men's outdoor track & field
women's outdoor track & field
University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, Nebraska Mavericks 2011 2012 Summit softball
California State University, Bakersfield Bakersfield, California Roadrunners 2011 2012 NCAA D-I Independent women's tennis

Membership timelineEdit

New Jersey Institute of TechnologyUniversity of Texas–Pan AmericanUtah Valley UniversityHouston Baptist UniversityChicago State UniversityUniversity of North DakotaUniversity of South DakotaSouthern Utah UniversityUniversity of California, DavisCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySouth Dakota State UniversityNorth Dakota State UniversityUniversity of Northern Colorado

Football-only members Full members (including football) Full members (non-football)

Football championsEdit

File:GreatWestLocations.png
Season Champions Record
2004 Cal Poly 4–1
2005 Cal Poly and UC Davis 4–1
2006 North Dakota State 4–0
2007 South Dakota State 4–0
2008 Cal Poly 3–0
2009 UC Davis 3–1
2010 Southern Utah 4–0
2011 North Dakota and Cal Poly 3–1

Basketball championsEdit

In 2010, the Great West Conference sponsored men's and women's basketball championship tournaments for the first time. Both events were held in Orem, Utah, at the UCCU Center, home of Utah Valley University. The top-seeded men from the South Dakota reaffirmed their regular season success with a 91-86 title game victory over runner-up Houston Baptist. On the women's side, Utah Valley took advantage of the crowd's support, as the number six seeds upset their way to the crown by wrapping up the stunning run with a 70-62 triumph over regular season winners North Dakota.

The Great West tournaments returned to the UCCU Center for an encore in 2011, and third-seeded North Dakota claimed the men's championship after a 77-76 double overtime thriller against South Dakota, which was seeded fourth. Regular season winners Chicago State remained true to form in the women's bracket, outlasting third seeds North Dakota by a score of 74-66.

In 2012, the Great West tournaments shifted to the Emil and Patricia Jones Convocation Center at Chicago State University. North Dakota became the league's first back-to-back champs, as the second seeds enjoyed a 75-50 victory over fourth-seeded NJIT in the men's final. The weekend would end with a clean sweep for North Dakota, as the program's top-seeded women knocked off regular season runners-up Utah Valley 69-56 to claim their maiden league title.

The Great West Conference does not have an automatic bid to the NCAA Men or Women's College Tournament as of 2012, but the men's champions do receive automatic selection to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, while their female counterparts head to the Women's Basketball Invitational.

Season Men's Regular Season Winners Men's Tournament Champions Season Women's Regular Season Winners Women's Tournament Champions
2009-10 South Dakota South Dakota 2009-10 North Dakota Utah Valley
2010-11 Utah Valley North Dakota 2010-11 Chicago State Chicago State
2011-12 Utah Valley North Dakota 2011-12 North Dakota North Dakota
2012-13 NJIT Chicago State 2012-13 Utah Valley NJIT

See also Edit

Baseball championsEdit

The Great West Conference sponsored its inaugural baseball championship tournament in 2010, and has held the event in different cities during its first three years of existence. The league has also experimented with formats, using pool play in 2010, but a traditional double elimination bracket in 2011 and 2012. Utah Valley has claimed every regular season and tournament championship in the short history of the conference. As in other sports, the Great West does not have an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. The league also has yet to earn an at-large invitation.

Season Regular Season Winners Tournament Champions
2010 Template:Cbsb link Template:Cbsb link
2011 Template:Cbsb link Template:Cbsb link
2012 Template:Cbsb link Template:Cbsb link

See also Edit

Other championsEdit

In addition to formerly sponsoring football; while continuing to sponsor men's basketball, women's basketball, and baseball; the Great West Conference sponsors many other sports. The GWC held its own men's golf championship in 2009, but the league's members decided to compete under the banner of the older and larger America Sky Men's Golf Conference starting in 2010, even though the option existed to hold a smaller Great West tournament and then participate in the America Sky event as well. Making men's tennis a league sport was also under discussion, but it never happened because only three schools—Chicago State, NJIT, and Texas Pan-American—had teams as of the 2012 season.

Season Women's Volleyball
Tournament Champions
Season Women's Soccer
Tournament Champions
Season Softball
Tournament Champions
Season Women's Tennis
Tournament Champions
2009 North Dakota 2009 Utah Valley 2010 North Dakota 2010 Texas-Pan American
2010 North Dakota 2010 Houston Baptist 2011 Houston Baptist 2011 NJIT
2011 North Dakota 2011 Utah Valley 2012 Utah Valley 2012 NJIT
Season Men's Cross Country
Champions
Season Men's Indoor Track & Field
Champions
Season Men's Outdoor Track & Field
Champions
Season Men's Golf
Champions
2008 Texas Pan-American 2008-09 South Dakota 2009 Utah Valley 2009 Houston Baptist
2009 Utah Valley 2009-10 South Dakota 2010 Utah Valley 2010 ASMGC: Texas-Pan American
2010 Utah Valley 2010-11 South Dakota 2011 Utah Valley 2011 ASMGC: Weber State
2011 Utah Valley 2011-12 Utah Valley 2012 Utah Valley 2012 ASMGC: Sacramento State
Season Women's Cross Country
Champions
Season Women's Indoor Track & Field
Champions
Season Women's Outdoor Track & Field
Champions
Season Women's Golf
Champions
2008 Utah Valley 2008-09 South Dakota 2009 Utah Valley 2009 Texas-Pan American
2009 Utah Valley 2009-10 South Dakota 2010 Utah Valley 2010 Houston Baptist
2010 Utah Valley 2010-11 South Dakota 2011 Utah Valley 2011 Houston Baptist
2011 Utah Valley 2011-12 Utah Valley 2012 Utah Valley 2012 Houston Baptist

FacilitiesEdit

Each full member of the Great West Conference has an on-campus basketball arena. Seating capacities range between 1,500 and 8,500. The full members are joined by three affiliates in baseball, forming an eight-team league. In women's soccer, the presence of three affiliates helped create a six-team league.

Softball previously had four members, with Nebraska-Omaha replacing South Dakota for the 2012 season, but North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha departed at the conclusion of that campaign. This leaves just Houston Baptist and Utah Valley, with no future alignment announced as of August 2012.

School Basketball arena Capacity Baseball stadium Capacity Softball stadium Capacity Soccer complex Capacity
Chicago State Jones Convocation Center 7,000 Gwendolyn Brooks Field N/A Non-softball school Non-soccer school
Houston Baptist Sharp Gymnasium 1,500 Husky Field 1,000 Husky Field 300 Randy and Cheryl Sorrells Field 500
NJIT Fleisher Center 1,500 B&E Riverfront Stadium 6,200 Non-softball school Lubetkin Field 1,000+
Texas-Pan American UTPA Fieldhouse 4,000 Edinburg Stadium 4,000 Non-softball school Non-soccer school
Utah Valley UCCU Center 8,500 Brent Brown Ballpark 5,500 Wolverine Field N/A Clyde Field N/A
North Dakota Baseball-only member Kraft Memorial Field 2,000 Baseball-only member
Northern Colorado Baseball-only member Jackson Field 1,500 Baseball-only member
NYIT Baseball-only member President's Field 1,000 Baseball-only member
Delaware State Soccer-only member Alumni Stadium 7,193
Howard Soccer-only member William H. Greene Stadium 10,000
South Carolina State Soccer-only member Oliver C. Dawson Stadium 22,000
  • Pink indicates future departing members.

NotesEdit

External linksEdit

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