The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association has been dominated by two football programs for more than two decades — Pittsburg State and Northwest Missouri State — and that doesn’t figure to change in 2012. The programs have combined to win or share all but two conference championships since 1989, and the Gorillas’ NCAA Division II title last season was the fifth between them (the Bearcats have won three) in that span.
But for all the consistency at the top of the MIAA, the league is undergoing major change. The league grows to 15 members with the addition of Lindenwood, Central Oklahoma, Nebraska-Kearney and Northeastern State (Okla.).
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Looking for an NFL prospect? Check out Missouri Southern defensive tackle Brandon Williams, a preseason Division II All-American who needs five sacks to own the school record.
William Jewell begins life in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, which sponsors a football championship for the first time. The Cardinals were a Division II independent last year and finished the season with a three-game winning streak. The other state school in the conference for football is Missouri S&T.
In the NAIA, MidAmerica Nazarene was selected by coaches to defend the Heart of America crown it shared with Missouri Valley last season. Benedictine and Baker join the favorites in the NAIA preseason top 20.
Defending champion Ottawa was the choice of Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches.