The NCAA Division II Membership Fund Selection Committee approved a grant of $8,945 to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) to facilitate exploratory visits to four prospective member schools.
In total, the committee issued five grants totaling almost $30,000 to member conferences to help drive strategic growth for the division.
The committee, chaired by Charles Dunn, former Presidents Council member and president emeritus at Henderson State University, is composed of seven members. Meeting in Indianapolis on Nov. 16 to discuss proposals submitted by 15 member conferences totaling more than $140,000, the committee selected five proposals that best met the fund’s criteria of encouraging Division II growth or retaining current members.
“The GLIAC is pleased to receive the grant from the Division II Membership Fund Selection Committee which will allow us to continue our efforts to expand and strengthen our conference,” stated Dr. Frederick J. Finks, President of Ashland University and the GLIAC’s Presidents’ Council in a press release distributed by the GLIAC. “The grant provides the needed capital to visit exploratory schools within our footprint.”
The GLIAC is adding Ohio Dominican and Lake Erie College (Ohio) as provisional league members as of July 1, 2010 and in the past Jeff Ligney, the GLIAC’s director of media relations, has said the conference would like to expand 16 full members, which would mean an additional two schools would come on board.
The grant allocated to the GLIAC was the second largest allotted by the committee. Only the $10,000 allocation to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference to facilitate campus visits for prospective new member institutions was larger.
Other proposals granted by the committee included: $5,000 to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference to explore expansion opportunities with prospective schools in the West region; $4,000 to the Pacific West Conference to explore expansion opportunities with prospective schools in the West region; and $1,500 to the Great Lakes Valley Conference to conduct a follow-up visit to newly accepted member William Jewell (which also has been accepted into the Division II membership process) to assist the school in its reclassification.
“The NCAA Membership Fund will be a great asset to the GLIAC and D-II athletics,” said GLIAC Commissioner Dell Robinson. “The funds will help us explore potential new members who continue to advance through the NCAA D-II membership process.”
This was the second in-person meeting of the committee since the Division II membership fund was created last year to use strategic programming to spur new growth, bolster current membership and discourage attrition.
The Division II Presidents Council approved an annual $250,000 allocation to the fund. The selection committee allocated about $75,000 in grants at its first meeting and $28,995 at the second, leaving about $337,000 in the fund. Selections are decided in June and November each year.
Grants from this second round of proposals will be distributed in January. April 30 is the next deadline for applications to the membership fund. The selection committee will meet in June to determine allocations from that pool that will be distributed in August 2010.
Names that have been thrown around for possible inclusion as the 15th and 16th members of the GLIAC in recent months include: University of St. Francis (Ind.), Central State (Ohio), Walsh University (Ohio), Malone University (Ohio) and Urbana University (Ohio).