HAAC Welcomes WP with Open Arms

By: Demi Coertze

HAACWith a new school year comes new changes at William Penn, and with those changes comes the much talked about move to the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC).

Since 2001 William Penn had toes in two different conferences. All sports except football were in the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC), and football was a part of then Mid-States Football Association. This new move allows all athletes at William Penn to share a spot under the same roof. Not only will WPU athletes see a new conference, but they will see new competition as well. Athletic Director, Greg Hafner says, “ Its fun to play new competition. Our coaches are excited about the new teams we are playing, and are even more excited to create new rivalries”.

The HAAC doesn’t only provide new competition for Penn athletics, but tougher competition as well. The MCC had a total of 7 schools that competed against one another for league titles, which resulted in having to schedule a lot more non-conference games and tournaments. With the HAAC having a total of 12 teams competing, more conference games and tournaments have been scheduled which makes for a more exciting and competitive season for all WP athletes. Next year Penn will see even more growth when Clarke and Mount Mercy join the HAAC, to make a total of 14 teams competing for league titles. One of the benefits of joining the HAAC is that it fits William Penn’s demographic. There are schools in this conference that have similar enrollment numbers, and their community sizes seem to match that of Oskaloosa. “We feel that this new conference is comparable to William Penn’s demographic, and we don’t have such a disadvantage with recruiting as far as community is concerned”, says Hafner.

One of the biggest changes that students will see in this new conference is the number of allowed national bids. In the HAAC all teams will see two qualifiers for national tournaments and competitions, where men’s basketball will see three bids due to the fact that the HAAC hosts the National Tournament. This is largely due to the size of the conference and the number of schools competing.

HAAC schools are as follows:

  • Avila
  • Baker
  • Benedictine
  • Central Methodist
  • Culver-Stockton
  • Evangel
  • Graceland
  • Grand View
  • MidAmerica Nazarene
  • Missouri Valley
  • Peru State
  • William Penn
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