The University of Northern Iowa wrestling program has made changes to its practice facilities and now it has changed its competition alignment.
The Mid-American Conference announced Wednesday that UNI, University of Missouri and Old Dominion will join the conference, increasing the league to nine members.
“It’s a good move for our program,” UNI Coach Doug Schwab said.
Schwab also said he is unsure how the schedule will be affected and whether the Panthers will eventually dual all MAC teams or just some of them. He said he will learn more in the upcoming weeks.
UNI AD Troy Dannen said the change advanced rapidly. The first talks were in late spring. More qualifiers than the Western Wrestling Conference, UNI’s previous affiliation, and name recognition were two reasons the move benefits UNI.
“It’s one of the most stable leagues in the country,” Dannen said.
UNI has been rumored to entertain ideas of becoming a Football Bowl Subdivision program. Dannen said the move was not related to future plans to join the MAC in other sports. He said there have been absolutely no talks with the MAC about anything else.
“This is as isolated as it could possibly be,” Dannen said.
All three schools have signed five-year contracts with the MAC with UNI and Missouri wrestling in the conference tournament this upcoming season with regular-season competition starting in the 2013-14. Old Dominion will join for the 2013-14 regular season and conference championship.
With nine schools, the MAC becomes the third-largest NCAA Division I wrestling conference behind the Big Ten and the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association.
Below is the news release about the conference addition: