Great Lakes Valley Conference

The Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division II level. Member institutions are located in the U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri.

Great Lakes Valley Conference
DivisionDivision II
Members16 (15 in 2020)
Sports fielded
  • 22
    • men's: 12
    • women's: 10
RegionCentral United States
HeadquartersIndianapolis, Indiana
CommissionerJim Naumovich (since 2001)

The GLVC is considered one of the top small college basketball conferences in the nation and placed a team in the men's NCAA Division II final over 11 straight years from 1994 to 2004.


Great Lakes Valley Conference
Location of GLVC members: full and departing

The GLVC grew out of discussions that started in 1972 between the athletic directors of three schools in the greater Ohio Valley—Bellarmine College (now designated a university), Kentucky Wesleyan College, and Indiana State University at Evansville (known since 1985 as the University of Southern Indiana)—with the goal of forming a basketball conference. The discussions later grew to include the University of Indianapolis and Saint Joseph's College, and in 1978 these schools joined with Ashland University to form the GLVC. Three of the founding schools (Bellarmine, Indianapolis, and Southern Indiana) remain in the conference today, though Bellarmine is set to leave in 2020.[1]

The conference experienced steady growth through the 1980s and into the early 1990s. The GLVC first expanded in 1980 with the addition of Lewis University, followed by Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW; the athletic program is now Purdue Fort Wayne) in 1984, Northern Kentucky University the following year, and Kentucky State University in 1989. The conference lost its first members in 1994 with the departure of Ashland and Kentucky State, but nonetheless increased in size that same year, adding Quincy University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and the University of Wisconsin–Parkside. The University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL) would join the next year.

The first part of the 21st century would see even more growth. While IPFW left in 2001 to move to Division I, the GLVC added three more members in 2005—Drury University, the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), and Rockhurst University.

In October 2008, Maryville University and The University of Illinois at Springfield accepted invitations to join the GLVC and began competing in the conference in the fall of 2009. They effectively replaced SIUE, which left for Division I in the summer of 2008. For men's and women's basketball, the league split into three divisions based on geography (East, North, and West) for the 2009–10 and 2010–11 seasons, and reverted to two divisions when William Jewell College joined in 2011. Baseball and Tennis operate in a two-division format, while all other sports run a single table.

On January 19, 2010 the GLVC announced the addition of football as a league championship sport, beginning with the 2012 season. Kentucky Wesleyan, Missouri S&T and Saint Joseph's moved from the Great Lakes Football Conference, McKendree University and Quincy from the Mid-States Football Association of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and Indianapolis ended its affiliate membership in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) to join William Jewell and form the seven-team league.[2]

On October 6, 2010 it was announced that McKendree accepted an invitation to become the 17th full member of the GLVC and begin participating fully in the conference in 2012.[3] The following day, the conference announced that it had approved Central State University and Urbana University for associate membership in football, increasing the number of teams which would compete in the initial season of football to nine.[4]

On October 18, 2011 it was announced that a new league, the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC; not to be confused with the former Division I Great Midwest Conference), was forming for 2013. Charter members included Kentucky Wesleyan from the GLVC along with Central State and Urbana (GLVC members in football). Joining them were Ursuline, Notre Dame College, and Cedarville, with the G-MAC hoping to expand to 10 members. The new conferences' sponsored sports were not immediately announced. Kentucky Wesleyan, with its eight national men's basketball titles, was the biggest loss for the GLVC, but, with only 680 students, the school had trouble competing in the other sports against much larger schools.

On December 8, 2011, Northern Kentucky officially accepted an invitation from the Division I Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN) effective July 1, 2012.[5] It was announced on June 8, 2012 that the GLVC Council of Presidents had voted unanimously to accept Truman State University, located in Kirksville, Missouri into the conference. The Bulldogs began competition in the GLVC effective with the 2013–14 school year. Truman was a founding member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), and became the seventh Missouri school to join the GLVC since 1995.[6]

On August 27, 2012 it was announced that Central State University would leave the GLVC football conference to join the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) as a football-only member, effective July 1, 2013.[7] (Two years later, Central State would become an all-sports SIAC member.)

In 2014, two Missouri schools, Lincoln University and Southwest Baptist University, joined the GLVC in football while otherwise remaining MIAA members.[8]

On November 4, 2015, Drury announced it would begin sponsorship of wrestling in the 2016–17 season becoming the sixth conference member with a wrestling program. They joined then-current wrestling-only independents Indianapolis, Maryville, McKendree, Truman State, and Wisconsin–Parkside in GLVC competition, giving the conference an eleventh men's championship sport. Bellarmine announced on June 14, 2016 that it would absorb the wrestling program of St. Catharine College, which closed after the 2015–16 school year, and also begin competition in the 2016–17 season.[9]

St. Joseph's College closed after graduation in May 2017 due to financial troubles.[10]

The University of Wisconsin–Parkside left the GLVC after the 2017–18 academic year to join the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The conference announced on May 31, 2018 that Southwest Baptist would join as a full member from the MIAA from 2019–20.[11] The conference also announced on October 4, 2018 that Lindenwood University would join in 2019–20.[12]

Lincoln's football program had been scheduled to leave the GLVC to return to the MIAA in 2020. However, the school's membership agreement had an out clause stating that if the MIAA lost a football-playing member, Lincoln football would be allowed to immediately return to the MIAA with no penalty. Once Lindenwood was announced as a future GLVC member, the clause was activated, and Lincoln accordingly rejoined MIAA football in 2019.[8]

The most recent change to the conference membership was reported by Louisville media on June 17, 2019 and officially confirmed the next day. Bellarmine will leave the GLVC in 2020 to move to the ASUN Conference.[13][1]


Current members

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Colors Joined
Bellarmine University Louisville, Kentucky 1950 3,369 Knights           1978
Drury University Springfield, Missouri 1873 1,728 Panthers           2005
University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, Illinois 1969 4,575 Prairie Stars                2009
University of Indianapolis Indianapolis, Indiana 1902 5,935 Greyhounds           1978
Lewis University Romeoville, Illinois 1932 6,440 Flyers           1980
Lindenwood University St. Charles, Missouri 1827 9,468 Lions           2019
Maryville University Town and Country, Missouri 1872 9,139 Saints           2009
McKendree University Lebanon, Illinois 1828 2,499 Bearcats           2012
Missouri University of Science and Technology Rolla, Missouri 1870 8,607 Miners           2005
University of Missouri–St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri 1963 16,471 Tritons           1995
Quincy University Quincy, Illinois 1860 1,188 Hawks                1994
Rockhurst University Kansas City, Missouri 1910 3,145 Hawks           2005
University of Southern Indiana Evansville, Indiana 1965 8,962 Screaming Eagles                1978
Southwest Baptist University Bolivar, Missouri 1878 3,356 Bearcats           2019[lower-alpha 1]
Truman State University Kirksville, Missouri 1867 5,853 Bulldogs           2013
William Jewell College Liberty, Missouri 1849 808 Cardinals           2011
  1. Southwest Baptist was a football affiliate from 2014 to 2019 (2014–2018 seasons).

Affiliate members

Years listed in this table are calendar years. For schools that play only spring sports (such as men's lacrosse) in the GLVC, the calendar year of arrival precedes the first season of competition.

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Colors Joined Sport Primary
University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, Alabama 1969 9,736 Chargers           2017 lacrosse (M) Gulf South
University of Montevallo Montevallo, Alabama 1896 2,616 Falcons           2017 lacrosse (M) Gulf South
Ouachita Baptist University Arkadelphia, Arkansas 1886 1,569 Tigers           2018 wrestling Great American
Shorter University Rome, Georgia 1873 1,452 Hawks           2017 lacrosse (M) Gulf South
Young Harris College Young Harris, Georgia 1886 1,425 Mountain Lions           2017 lacrosse (M) Peach Belt

Former members

Institution Location Founded Nickname Joined Left Current
Ashland University Ashland, Ohio 1878 Eagles 1978 1994 GLIAC
Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne[lower-alpha 1] Fort Wayne, Indiana 1964 Mastodons 1984 2001 Summit
(Horizon in 2020)
Kentucky State University Frankfort, Kentucky 1886 Thorobreds & Thorobrettes 1989 1994 Southern Intercollegiate
Kentucky Wesleyan College Owensboro, Kentucky 1858 Panthers 1978 2012[lower-alpha 2] Great Midwest
Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, Kentucky 1968 Norse 1985 2012 Horizon
Saint Joseph's College Rensselaer, Indiana 1889 Pumas 1978 2017 Closed in 2017
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Edwardsville, Illinois 1957 Cougars 1994 2008 Ohio Valley
University of Wisconsin–Parkside Somers, Wisconsin 1968 Rangers 1994 2018 GLIAC
  1. On July 1, 2018, Indiana University and Purdue University dissolved their merged Fort Wayne campus. IU took over IPFW's academic programs in health sciences under the name of Indiana University Fort Wayne, with remaining IPFW academic programs becoming part of Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW). The IPFW athletic program was inherited by PFW, with the athletic branding changed to Purdue Fort Wayne.
  2. Kentucky Wesleyan remained a GLVC football affiliate through the 2013 season.

Former affiliate members

Years listed in this table reflect calendar years. For fall sports, the calendar year of departure is the year after the last season of competition. For spring sports, the calendar year of arrival precedes the first season of competition.

Institution Location Founded Nickname Joined Left Sport Primary
Central State University Wilberforce, Ohio 1887 Marauders 2012 2013 football Southern Intercollegiate
Lincoln University Jefferson City, Missouri 1866 Blue Tigers 2014 2019 football Mid-America
Urbana University Urbana, Ohio 1850 Blue Knights 2012 2013 football Mountain East

Membership timeline

 Full member (all sports)   Full member (non-football)   Associate member (football-only)   Associate member (sport) 


"Core sports" – sports that all full conference members are required to sponsor – are indicated with a green background.[14]

A 2-divisional format is used for baseball and tennis (M / W). A 3-divisional format is used for basketball (M / W) and volleyball, the third division is named Central.
  • Bellarmine
  • Illinois–Springfield
  • Indianapolis
  • Lewis
  • McKendree
  • Southern Indiana
  • Drury
  • Maryville
  • Missouri S&T
  • Missouri–St. Louis
  • Quincy
  • Rockhurst
  • Truman
  • William Jewell
  • Bellarmine
  • Indianapolis
  • Lewis
  • Southern Indiana
  • Illinois–Springfield
  • Maryville
  • McKendree
  • Missouri–St. Louis
  • Quincy
  • Drury
  • Missouri S&T
  • Rockhurst
  • Truman
  • William Jewell
Conference sports
Cross CountryYY
Swimming & DivingYY
Track & Field IndoorYY
Track & Field OutdoorYY

Men's sponsored sports by school

School Baseball Basketball Cross
Football Golf Lacrosse Soccer Swimming
& Diving
Tennis Track
& Field
& Field
Wrestling Total
Bellarmine Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Drury Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Illinois–Springfield Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Indianapolis Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 12
Lewis Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Lindenwood Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 12
Maryville Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
McKendree Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Missouri S&T Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Missouri–St. Louis Y Y Y Y Y Y 6
Quincy Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Rockhurst Y Y Y Y Y Y 6
Southern Indiana Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Southwest Baptist Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Truman Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
William Jewell Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Totals 16 16 14 8 15 5 16 11 14 14 14 7 150
Affiliate Members
Alabama–Huntsville Y 1
Montevallo Y 1
Ouachita Baptist Y 1
Shorter Y 1
Young Harris Y 1

Women's sponsored sports by school

School Basketball Cross
Golf Lacrosse Soccer Softball Swimming
& Diving
Tennis Track
& Field
& Field
Volleyball Total
Bellarmine Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Drury Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Illinois–Springfield Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Indianapolis Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Lewis Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Lindenwood Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
Maryville Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 11
McKendree Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Missouri S&T Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Missouri–St. Louis Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 7
Quincy Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Rockhurst Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
Southern Indiana Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Southwest Baptist Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 9
Truman Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
William Jewell Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 10
Totals 16 15 16 7 16 16 10 15 14 14 16 155

Other sponsored sports by school

School Men Women
Lacrosse Volleyball [lower-alpha 1] Water
Polo [lower-alpha 1]
Bowling [lower-alpha 1] Field
Hockey [lower-alpha 1]
Polo [lower-alpha 1]
Fencing [lower-alpha 1]
Bellarmine SoCon [lower-alpha 2] ECAC
Drury MIAA
Lindenwood MIVA ECAC CHA
Maryville MIAA
Quincy MIVA
  1. De facto Division I sport. The NCAA conducts national championship events open to members of all divisions in bowling, fencing, and men's and women's water polo. In men's volleyball and women's ice hockey, the NCAA's top-level championship events are open to members of both Divisions I and II.
  2. Bellarmine competes as a Division I member in men's lacrosse.

In addition to the listings in this table, Southwest Baptist treats its all-female dance team as a varsity team, and added a varsity team in the all-female cheerleading discipline of STUNT for 2018–19. The school also sponsors a coeducational varsity eSports team, specifically in League of Legends.


National champions

GLVC schools have won 28 NCAA Division II national championships:[15]

Year Sport School
1987 men's basketball Kentucky Wesleyan
1990 men's basketball Kentucky Wesleyan
1995 men's basketball Southern Indiana
1999 men's basketball Kentucky Wesleyan
2000 women's basketball Northern Kentucky
2001 men's basketball Kentucky Wesleyan
2005 men's swimming & diving Drury
2006 men's swimming & diving Drury
2007 men's swimming & diving Drury
2007 women's swimming & diving Drury
2007 softball SIU Edwardsville
2008 women's basketball Northern Kentucky
2008 men's swimming & diving Drury
2009 men's swimming & diving Drury
2009 women's swimming & diving Drury
2010 men's swimming & diving Drury
2010 women's swimming & diving Drury
2010 baseball Southern Indiana
2010 men's soccer Northern Kentucky
2011 men's basketball Bellarmine
2011 men's swimming & diving Drury
2011 women's swimming & diving Drury
2012 men's swimming & diving Drury
2013 men's basketball Drury
2013 men's swimming & diving Drury
2014 men's swimming & diving Drury
2014 baseball Southern Indiana
2015 women's golf Indianapolis
2018 women's golf Indianapolis
2018 softball Southern Indiana


  1. "ASUN Conference Announces Addition of Bellarmine University" (Press release). ASUN Conference. June 18, 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  2. GLVC Establishes Timeline for Football Sponsorship - Press release - January 19, 2010
  3. Staff (October 7, 2010). "GLVC adds McKendree". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  4. GLVC Welcomes Two Associate Members for Football - Press release - October 8, 2010
  5. "Northern Kentucky to Join Atlantic Sun" (Press release). Atlantic Sun Conference. December 8, 2011. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
  6. "Truman moving to GLVC". The Kirksville Daily Express. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  7. "SIAC Approves Central State University For Conference Membership" (Press release). Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. August 27, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  8. Boyce, David (October 25, 2018). "Boyce's Beat: The MIAA Path of Lincoln's Football Return in 2019". Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  9. "Bellarmine to start men's wrestling team". Bellarmine University. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  10. "Alumni Short Of Goal To Stop St. Joseph's College Closure". Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  11. "GLVC Admits Southwest Baptist University as Full-Time Member" (Press release). Great Lakes Valley Conference. May 31, 2018. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  12. "GLVC Admits Lindenwood University as 16th Member" (Press release). Great Lakes Valley Conference. October 4, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  13. Crawford, Eric (June 17, 2019). "Done D-1 Deal". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  14. "Benedictine Admitted to NCAA DII Membership Process" (Press release). Benedictine Eagles. July 13, 2018. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
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