SEWARD, Neb. – On Monday evening the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) and Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) announced a partnership that will match football teams from both leagues in a series of challenge games beginning with the 2015 schedule. Teams will be paired based on league finishes from the prior season.
Having tied for fifth in the GPAC in 2013, head coach Vance Winter’s Bulldogs have been locked into a Sept. 5, 2015, contest at Southwestern College (5-6 overall, 4-5 KCAC in 2013) in Winfield, Kan. It will be the second-straight season that Concordia will begin a campaign on the road in the KCAC. The Bulldogs will kick off 2014 on Sept. 6 at 2013 KCAC champion Sterling College.
Winter is among the many excited about the newly formed KCAC-GPAC Challenge. The current two-year agreement among the conferences will ease the burden on head coaches of finding two non-league games every year. Winter says that the challenge has been well received by coaches throughout both the GPAC and KCAC.
“It’s always a challenge getting your nonconference schedule completed,” Winter said. “This is nice because you’re able to lock in and get high quality matchups year after year. I think they will be very competitive matchups. That makes it fun. I think it’s going to benefit both conferences.”
With nine conference games and the non-conference contest at Southwestern now set for 2015, Concordia needs just one more non-league game to finalize next year’s slate. Contract agreements with Dakota State University, who the Bulldogs will face for the fourth-straight year in 2014, ends after this fall.
The 2015 KCAC-GPAC challenge includes nine games. All nine GPAC schools will play at KCAC institutions in the first year of the challenge before shifting to GPAC home sites in 2016.
Concordia had been set to host Sterling College in 2015 until the challenge surfaced.
Corey Westra GPAC Commissioner:
(Via gpacsports.com release)
“From day one our administrators and coaches were on board to make this work. The fans of the NAIA and our two leagues are in for some outstanding small college football. This is what the NAIA is about, two conferences working together to make each other stronger. This alliance is not only good for our two conferences but for all of NAIA football.”
Dr. Scott Crawford, KCAC Commissioner:
“Speaking on behalf of the KCAC and its member institutions, we look forward to seeing the teams compete on the field in 2015. It will be a great reward following the hard work and collaboration of coaches and sports chairs from each league.”
2015 GPAC-KCAC football matchups (Sept. 5, 2015)