American Rivers Conference

The American Rivers Conference (ARC) is an NCAA Division III athletic conference. From 1927 until August 9, 2018, it was known as the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC).

American Rivers Conference
DivisionDivision III
Sports fielded
  • 22
    • men's: 11
    • women's: 11
RegionIowa, Nebraska
HeadquartersCedar Rapids, Iowa
CommissionerChuck Yrigoyen (since 2008)


The ARC dates back to December 8, 1922, when representatives from 12 colleges got together and formed the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Charter members were Buena Vista College, Central University of Iowa, Ellsworth College, Iowa Wesleyan College, Luther College, Morningside College, Parsons College, St. Ambrose College, Simpson College, Upper Iowa College, Western Union College and Penn College. Des Moines University was voted into the conference at that meeting as well.

The first Conference constitution was published in January 1923. Also that year, Judge Hubert Utterback of Des Moines, Iowa was named the first conference commissioner and Iowa Teachers (now known as University of Northern Iowa) was accepted as a member. Columbia College (now known as Loras College) was admitted in 1926. Ellsworth left the Conference in 1927. That spring, the Conference's name was changed to the “Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.” After a three-year ban, athletics were reinstated at the University of Dubuque in 1928–29, and it joined the conference in 1929. Wartburg College was admitted to the conference in 1936, beginning competition the following year. Morningside College dropped out in 1936 because of inactivity. William Penn was suspended from the Conference in 1949 for using ineligible players. The school was back in the Conference in 1951, though it did not compete in football until later. In 1951, St. Ambrose and Loras dropped from football competition.

The Iowa Conference reorganized in 1953, effective with the 1954–55 school year. Nine schools remained in the Conference: Buena Vista, Central, Dubuque, Iowa Wesleyan, Luther, Parsons, Simpson, Upper Iowa and Wartburg. William Penn was readmitted to the Conference in 1960, effective in the spring of 1962. Parsons left the Conference around 1963, while Iowa Wesleyan left effective June 1, 1965. Loras rejoined the Conference in 1986, increasing the Conference membership to nine schools, which continued until 1997 when Coe and Cornell left the Midwest Conference to join the IIAC. The Conference was at 11 schools until its 80th Anniversary year (2001–02) when William Penn decided to leave and switch its affiliation from the NCAA to the NAIA. The IIAC became a nine school Conference when Upper Iowa reclassified to NCAA Division II prior to the start of the 2003-04 academic year and fell back to eight schools with Cornell's return to the Midwest Conference following the 2011-2012 academic year.

The conference expanded beyond the borders of Iowa in 2016 with the addition of Nebraska Wesleyan University.[1] On August 9, 2018, the league changed its name to the American Rivers Conference to reflect its current makeup.[2]

Member schools

Current members

Buena Vista
Nebraska Wesleyan
Map of current members
Institution Nickname Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Joined
Buena Vista University Beavers Storm Lake, Iowa 1891 Presbyterian 2,775 1922
Central College Dutch Pella, Iowa 1853 Reformed 1,575 1922
Coe College Kohawks Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1851 Presbyterian 1,355 1997
University of Dubuque Spartans Dubuque, Iowa 1852 Presbyterian 1,361 1929
Loras College Duhawks Dubuque, Iowa 1839 Catholic 1,550 1926,
Luther College Norse Decorah, Iowa 1861 Lutheran 2,573 1922
Nebraska Wesleyan University Prairie Wolves Lincoln, Nebraska 1887 Methodist 1,600 2016
Simpson College Storm Indianola, Iowa 1860 Methodist 1,966 1922
Wartburg College Knights Waverly, Iowa 1852 Lutheran 1,804 1936

* - Loras was dropped from the conference in 1954 because it was determined they were "too strong" for the other members to play against. Loras rejoined the conference in 1986.

Former members

Institution Nickname Location
(All in Iowa)
Founded Type Enrollment Joined Left Current conference
Cornell College Rams Mount Vernon 1853 Methodist 1,155 1997 2012 Midwest
Des Moines University N/A Des Moines 1898 Private 1,500 1922 1929 Dropped athletics in 1929
Ellsworth College Panthers Iowa Falls 1890 Private 1,000 1922 1927 ICCAC
Iowa State Teachers College
(now known as University of Northern Iowa)
Panthers Cedar Falls 1876 Public 12,607 1923 1935 Missouri Valley
(NCAA Division I)
Iowa Wesleyan College Tigers Mount Pleasant 1842 Private/United Methodist 850 1922 1965 SLIAC
(NCAA Division III)
Morningside College Mustangs Sioux City 1894 Private/United Methodist 1,149 1922 1936 Great Plains (GPAC)
Parsons College Wildcats Fairfield 1875 Private/Presbyterian 1,500 1922 1963 Closed in 1973
St. Ambrose University Fighting Bees Davenport 1882 Private/Roman Catholic 2,829 1922 1954 CCAC
Upper Iowa University Peacocks Fayette 1857 Private 820 1922 2003 Northern Sun (NSIC)
(NCAA Division II)
Westmar College Eagles Le Mars 1887 Private 1,000 1922 1953 Closed in 1997
William Penn University Statesmen Oskaloosa 1873 Private/Quakers 1,795 1922,

* - William Penn was suspended from the conference from 1949 to 1951 and then removed from the conference for being "too weak" in 1953; they rejoined in 1960.

Membership timeline


Member teams field men's and women's teams in cross country, basketball, track and field, swimming and diving, golf, soccer, tennis. Men's teams are field for baseball, football and wrestling. Women's teams are field for softball and volleyball.

Men's sponsored sports by school

FootballGolfSoccerSwimming & DivingTennisTrack & Field
Track & Field
WrestlingTotal ARC
Nebraska WesleyanYYYYYYYYYYY11

Women's sponsored sports by school

FootballGolfSoccerSoftballSwimming & DivingTennisTrack & Field
Track & Field
VolleyballLacrosseTotal ARC
Nebraska WesleyanYYYYYYYYYYYN11


  2. "#RiversRise; Iowa Conference Now American Rivers Conference" (Press release). American Rivers Conference. August 9, 2018. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
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