Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
Sports fielded21 (men's: 10; women's: 11)
Former namesKansas Intercollegiate Athletic Association
HeadquartersWichita, Kansas
CommissionerScott Crawford (since 2007)

The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) is an intercollegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NAIA. The KCAC is the oldest conference in the NAIA and the second oldest in the United States, tracing its history to 1890.


On February 15, 1890, the Kansas Intercollegiate Athletic Association was formed; it was the first successful attempt to organize Kansas colleges for the purposes of promoting and regulating amateur intercollegiate athletics. In addition to the private universities and colleges, the conference also included Kansas State Agriculture College (now Kansas State University), the University of Kansas, and Washburn University. In November of that year, the first college football game in Kansas was played between the Kansas Jayhawks and Baker University.[1]

About 1902 the association allied with the Kansas College Athletic Conference, the first group to adopt a definite set of rules and regulations. By the 1920s the conference had changed its name to Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and had grown to include 17 regular members and 2 allied members (no longer including the University of Kansas or Kansas State). In 1923 seven colleges withdrew to form the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

On December 1, 1928, the Kansas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was formally disbanded and replaced by a new Kansas College Athletic Conference which included six members and formed the present legal entity. It was commonly referred to as the "Little Six", in contrast to the Big Six Conference that eventually became the current Big 12. By 1968 the conference grew to include 12 members. It was organized into Northern and Southern divisions until 1970 when three colleges withdrew to join Missouri-based conferences. In the mid-1970s the name was changed to its current form.[2]

1905 night gameEdit

See 1905 Cooper vs. Fairmount football game

In the 1905 season, the Coleman Company set up temporary gas-powered lighting for a night game against Cooper College (now called the Sterling Warriors). It was the first night football game played west of the Mississippi River.[3] Fairmount won the game 24–0.[4]

1905 "experimental" gameEdit

See 1905 Washburn vs. Fairmount football game

On December 25, 1905, Wichita State (called "Fairmount College" at the time) played a game against the Washburn Ichabods using a set of experimental rules. The game was officiated by then Washburn head coach John H. Outland.

The experiment was considered a failure. Outland commented, "It seems to me that the distance required in three downs would almost eliminate touchdowns, except through fakes or flukes."[5] The Los Angeles Times reported that there was much kicking and that the game was considered much safer than regular play, but that the new rule was not "conducive to the sport."[6]

In his history of the sport of football, David M. Nelson concluded that "the first forward passes were thrown at the end of the 1905 season in a game between Fairmount and Washburn colleges in Kansas."[7] According to Nelson, Washburn completed three passes, and Fairmount completed two.

Member schoolsEdit

The conference is currently composed of twelve independent or private institutions of higher learning from within Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Missouri. The members (and year admitted):

Current membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Joined
Avila University Kansas City, Missouri 1916 1,676 Eagles 2018
Bethany College Lindsborg, Kansas 1881 500 Swedes 1902
Bethel College North Newton, Kansas 1887 500 Threshers 1902;
Friends University Wichita, Kansas 1898 3,000 Falcons 1902;
Kansas Wesleyan University Salina, Kansas 1886 1,000 Coyotes 1902
McPherson College McPherson, Kansas 1887 600 Bulldogs 1902
Oklahoma Wesleyan University Bartlesville, Oklahoma 1972 1,103 Eagles 2015
Ottawa University Ottawa, Kansas 1865 726 Braves 1902;
University of Saint Mary Leavenworth, Kansas 1859 750 Spires 1999
Southwestern College Winfield, Kansas 1885 1,650 Moundbuilders 1902;
Sterling College Sterling, Kansas 1887 750 Warriors 1902;
Tabor College Hillsboro, Kansas 1908 600 Bluejays 1968
York College York, Nebraska 1890 459 Panthers 2016
  • Bethel College — left the KCAC in December 1928, and re-joined in 1939.
  • Friends — left the KCAC in December 1928, and re-joined in 1953.
  • Ottawa — left the KCAC in 1970, and re-joined in 1981.
  • Southwestern College — left the KCAC in 1923, and re-joined in 1958.
  • Sterling College — left the KCAC in December 1928, and re-joined in 1958.

Associate membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Joined Sport Primary
St. Ambrose University Davenport, Iowa 1882 3,607 Fighting Bees 2016 Men's Lacrosse & Women's Lacrosse CCAC

Former membersEdit

Institution Location Founded Nickname Joined Left Current
Baker University Baldwin City, Kansas 1858 Wildcats 1902 1970 Heart of America
College of Emporia Emporia, Kansas 1882 Fighting Presbies 1902;
Closed in 1974
Emporia State University Emporia, Kansas 1863 Hornets
Lady Hornets
1924 1928 Mid-America
Fort Hays State University Hays, Kansas 1902 Tigers 1902 1928 Mid-America
Kansas City University Kansas City, Kansas 1896 Cowboys 1902 1923 Closed in 1933
Pittsburg State University Pittsburg, Kansas 1903 Gorillas 1902 1928 Mid-America
St. Benedict's College Atchison, Kansas 1858 Ravens 1902 1928 Heart of America
St. John's College Winfield, Kansas 1893 Eagles 1902 1923 Closed in 1986
St. Mary of the Plains College Dodge City, Kansas 1913 Cavaliers
1968 1992 Closed in 1992
St. Mary's College St. Marys, Kansas 1848 Crusaders 1902 1931 Dropped sports
Washburn University Topeka, Kansas 1865 Ichabods 1902 1928 Mid-America
Fairmont College Wichita, Kansas 1895 Shockers 1902 1923 American
  • St. Benedict's College and Fairmont College school names reflects the name used during conference membership. The schools are now known as Benedictine College and Wichita State University respectively.

Membership timelineEdit

 Full member (all sports)   Full member (non-football) 


Conference sports
Baseball 13pxY
Basketball 13pxY 13pxY
Cross Country 13pxY 13pxY
Football 13pxY
Golf 13pxY 13pxY
Lacrosse 13pxY 13pxY
Soccer 13pxY 13pxY
Softball 13pxY
Tennis 13pxY 13pxY
Track & Field Indoor 13pxY 13pxY
Track & Field Outdoor 13pxY 13pxY
Volleyball 13pxY
Wrestling 13pxY

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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