FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BOURBONNAIS, IL – Lindenwood University-Belleville and Missouri Baptist University were unanimous choices Tuesday to become members of the Mid-States Football Association during the annual MSFA meeting held on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University.
The two schools will begin play as members of the MFSA's Midwest League in 2015-16. Lindenwood-Belleville, a small liberal arts school located in Belleville, IL, and Missouri Baptist, a Christ-centered institution in St. Louis, MO, become the 28th and 29th institutions to have held membership in the 20-year Association.
"I look forward to working with Missouri Baptist University and Lindenwood University-Belleville as the newest members of the Mid-States Football Association," MSFA Commissioner Dr. James D. Houdeshell said. "Missouri Baptist folks made a wonderful review of the plans to begin intercollegiate football. Lindenwood-Belleville already plays intercollegiate football and they sought a conference to join. We extend our best to both MBU and LUB and look to many outstanding games with their respective teams."
Lindenwood-Belleville, which provides competition in 17 varsity sports and 64 percent of its student body are student-athletes, posted a 4-6 record during its first full intercollegiate football season in 2012. Coach Jeff Fisher, who spent 16 years as an assistant at McKendree University, will see the Lynx play a 10-game schedule this fall that features MSFA members University of St. Francis, IL and Olivet Nazarene.
"We are so proud to be accepted as a member of the MSFA," Lindenwood-Belleville Athletics Director Scott Spinner said. "It has been, without question, the most competitive and successful football conference in the NAIA in recent history. We are excited at the opportunity it presents for our student-athletes."
Missouri Baptist, meanwhile, is in the process of recruiting its first class of prospective players under the direction of first-year coach Jason Burianek, who like Fisher served as an assistant at McKendree, will coach the Spartans' inaugural season in 2014-15. MBU offers 24 other varsity sports and competes in the American Midwest Conference.
"We are excited about our acceptance into the MSFA," Missouri Baptist Athletics Director Dr. Thomas M. Smith said. "The programs in the MSFA are solid and among the strongest in the NAIA. We are looking forward to a long-standing relationship in this highly-competitive conference."
The MSFA currently features 14 schools. The Mideast League members include Concordia University (MI), 2012 NAIA national champion Marian University (IN), Robert Morris University (IL), Siena Heights University (MI), University of Saint Francis (IN), University of St. Francis (IL) and Taylor University (IN). The Midwest League is made up of Grand View University (IA), Olivet Nazarene University (IL), Saint Ambrose University (IA), 2011 NAIA national champion Saint Xavier University (IL), Trinity International University (IL), Waldorf College (IA) and William Penn University (IA).
The MSFA membership also voted to accept the withdrawal of Waldorf after the 2014-15 season. Waldorf, which is located in Forest City, IA, began MSFA play in 2009 and will complete its commitment to the Association in 2013 and 2014.
Also, the membership chose Gary Newsome, Olivet Nazarene Athletics Director, to succeed Houdeshell as the MSFA commissioner after the 2013-14 season. Houdeshell has served as the only commissioner of the 20-year-old MSFA.