After the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference explored the possibility of expansion — which included Wilmington College’s interest — the league has decided to remain a 10-team conference.
WC Vice President for Athletic Administration and Director of Athletics Terry Rupert said he discussed with officials from the Heartland Conference Wilmington’s “possible membership in the Heartland Conference if they (league) were going to expand to a 12-team conference.” Wilmington is currently a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Rupert said the Heartland Conference “has decided not to expand” at this time.
Said Rupert, “I think they’ve just had a lot of new leaders (among conference schools) and decided to hold off (expansion) at this time.”
The HCAC had eight schools hire new presidents within the last year, Rupert said.
The HCAC consists of Mount St. Joseph, Defiance, Manchester, Rose-Hulman, Hanover, Anderson, Transylvania, Bluffton, Franklin and Earlham.
The OAC, in addition to Wilmington, consists of John Carroll, Marietta, Mount Union, Capital, Baldwin-Wallace, Ohio Northern, Heidelberg, Muskingum and Otterbein.
“We’re happy with the OAC,” Rupert said. “We’re a member in good standing. We just felt it was in our best interest to listen (to the Heartland Conference).”
Wilmington was a member of the HCAC for two years before joining the OAC in 2000. Prior to the HCAC, Wilmington athletic teams were independent following affiliation in the Association of Mideast Colleges, which folded in 1995.
Wilmington was a member of the Mid-Ohio League from 1955 to 1971 before joining in the Hoosier-Buckeye Conference.
“This was an informal discussion,” Rupert said. “They (the Heartland) were floating out the idea that they might expand. We were curious and decided to look into it.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.