The Mid-States Football Association, which approved Indiana Wesleyan University as an associate member at its May meeting, begins its 23rd season with 13 schools in five Midwestern states.
Indiana Wesleyan, a private, evangelical Christian, liberal arts school headquartered in Marion, Ind., will feature its first recruiting class in 2017, compete as a varsity sport for the first time in 2018 and become a full-fledged MSFA member in 2019. Indiana Wesleyan becomes the 30th institution to hold membership in the MSFA since its inaugural season in 1993.
Lindenwood University-Belleville, located in Belleville, Ill., and Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis, Mo., were added as associate members in 2013 and began MSFA play a season ago as part of the Mideast League.
Lindenwood-Belleville and Missouri Baptist join Concordia University of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Marian University of Indianapolis, Ind.; the University of Saint Francis of Fort Wayne, Ind.; Siena Heights University of Adrian, Mich.; and Taylor University of Upland, Ind. in the Mideast League in 2016.
Meanwhile, Chicago-based Robert Morris University and Saint Xavier University; the University of St. Francis of Joliet, Ill.; Olivet Nazarene University of Bourbonnais, Ill.; St. Ambrose University of Davenport, Iowa; and Trinity International University of Deerfield, Ill. makeup the Midwest League.
Each MSFA team plays the other teams within its league plus crossover games against the other league. The champions of the two leagues receive automatic berths into the NAIA Championship Series.
The MSFA has claimed seven national championships, including four of the last five by Grand View University (Iowa) in 2013, Marian (2015& 2012) and Saint Xavier (2011). The University of Findlay (1995 & 1997) and Westminster College (1994) also won national titles as members of the MSFA.
The MSFA Chairman for 2016-2017 will be Lonnie Pries, Athletics Director, Concordia University. Gary Newsome, athletics director at Olivet Nazarene, enters his third season as the MSFA Commissioner; Larry Alter of Findlay, Ohio is the MSFA Information Director; and Ray McCormick of Normal, Ill. is the Coordinator of Officials. Weekly statistical reports, players of the week, news items and highlights are available on the MSFA website at www.mid-statesfootball.org.