The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and Northern Athletics Conference have announced they will launch a "Challenge Series" in football that will pit member schools from the two conferences against each other, beginning with the 2012 season.
The two NCAA Division III conferences have signed a four-year agreement in which home sites will alternate each year between NAC schools and MIAA schools. In the 2012 season, NAC schools will host the Challenge Series matchups, while MIAA institutions will host the 2013 matchups.
"The four-year Challenge Series is an outcome of several years' work, and we are very pleased to enter into football competition with the outstanding colleges of the NAC," MIAA Commissioner David Neilson said. "We look forward to the inaugural games next fall."
"The development and implementation of the series seemed to be a natural progression, as many of our teams were already playing one another in nonconference games," NAC Commissioner Steven Larson said. "We also had a bridge already built between the MIAA and the NAC, as Wisconsin Lutheran College had previously competed in the MIAA prior to the formation of the NAC."
Matchups for the series in 2012 have been determined based on each school's finish in the 2011 conference standings. For example, the Flying Dutchmen will travel to River Forest, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, for a first-time meeting with Concordia-Chicago. Hope was runnerup in the MIAA this fall and was 7-3 overall. Concordia was co-champion in the NAC and was 8-2 on the season.
Here is the complete schedule for the first year (September 15, 2012) of the MIAA/NAC Challenge:
Albion at Benedictine
Hope at Concordia Chicago
Adrian at Wisconsin Lutheran
Trine at Concordia Wisconsin
Kalamazoo at Lakeland
Alma at Aurora
Olivet at Rockford
All games will kick off at 1 p.m. local time.