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Rivalries Revisited
Ryan Seefus
Antelope Staff

UNK set to move to MIAA, reunite with old CSIC foes

In the same year that Michael Jackson was crowned the King of Pop, the Central States Intercollegiate Conference was beginning a downward spiral. It was 1989 and the last year UNK was a member of the CSIC.  The once named “Antelopes” closed the book on multiple heated rivalries.

After 21 years, the Lopers of a new generation are planning to write the sequel.

On July 1, 2012, UNK is set to join the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association and begin conference play. When the Lopers begin competition in the MIAA, they will be matching up against seven universities that also rose out of the CSIC rubble to build quality Division II athletic programs.

Not only does the MIAA play at a high level, it is likely that the conference will be up to 16 teams by 2012 when UNK and Lindenwood are introduced. Changing conferences may be good for the university, but it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

“The MIAA is considered as one of the best Division II conferences in the country,” UNK Director of Athletics Jon McBride said.

In 2012, the Lopers will need any edge they can get to continue competing at such a high level. Luckily for the True Blue Crew, travel distances will be cut in half as soon as UNK leaves the RMAC.

“It was difficult for our opponent’s fans, as well as our own fans, to go to a game 12 to 13 hours away. Generating rivalry intensity is something we’re looking forward to in the MIAA , that we didn’t enjoy in the RMAC,” McBride said.

In addition to travel convenience, attendance numbers in the MIAA are exponentially higher than the RMAC because the entertainment value of their rivalries is superlative. The switch in conferences should create extra interest and support, considering in-state foe University of Nebraska at Omaha and long time adversary Fort Hays State will be on the schedule multiple times a season.

“The UNO and UNK rivalry has always been pretty intense, and I think joining the MIAA will heighten the interest surrounding those games,” McBride said.

By giving fans a chance to attend both the home and away contests of a match up in the same year, the change of pace should hasten old CSIC rivalries.

One person who is excited about moving to the same conference as some of the old CSIC teams is UNK men’s basketball co-head coach Tom Kropp. He coached in the CSIC for 12 years as an assistant coach, and he welcomes the challenge.

“The two teams that we most look forward to playing in conference are UNO and Fort Hays,” said coach Kropp.

Last year the MIAA led all Division II schools in women’s basketball attendance, the RMAC came in last. When it comes time for the Lopers to step into the sphere of MIAA athletics, you need to ask yourself one question. Are you ready to be a part of the experience?


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