Xander York – Staff Writer

Starting next season, the College of Saint Mary will join the Great Plains Athletic Conference.College_of_Saint_Mary,_Mercy_Hall

Saint Mary is an all-female school from Omaha, Neb. The school has an enrollment of 1,000 female students and an acceptance rate of only 47 percent. A school with such prestige is a wonderful addition to the GPAC, but a problem still remains: female sports will have 12 schools participating while male sports will only have 11.

To solve a potentially harmful situation for the GPAC, the best option GPAC officials have decided on is to search for an all-male college or university in the Midwest. The only problem with a solution such as this is the lack of all-male colleges in the entire United States, let alone the Midwest.

Only four colleges in the United States remain all-male schools: Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden-Sydney, VA, Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN and Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN.

For the GPAC, pursuing one of those schools makes sense: Saint John’s University. With 1,823 male students enrolled, Saint John’s would be the third-largest school in the conference. Adding Saint John’s is certainly a goal for the GPAC, but some officials at Saint John’s do not agree.

“We’re happy the way things are,” said Dr. Leonard Williams, professor of economics. “The Minnesota Intelligence Athletic Conference has been great to us, and you’re crazy if you think we’re going to leave that behind.”

Other officials were a little more kind in their words about the GPAC. Kenny Lager, the Assistant Sports Information Director, actually hopes for a move to the GPAC.

“Historically, the MIAC is a better conference,” Lager said. “But, success-wise, the GPAC is above and beyond that of the MIAC. If we want to improve our athletics facilities, attendance or performance, we’ll make the move.”

While no talks have been confirmed between the GPAC and Saint John’s, a source close to the Zircon revealed that GPAC Commissioner Corey Ventra did in fact meet with SJU president Michael Hamish. Neither Ventra nor Hamish commented on these allegations.

One confirmed action taken by the GPAC and its officials is the active search for a 12th all-male school. Wabash College has an outside shot at joining the conference, but travel for the school would be brutal, especially with the rising costs of travel.

Until a 12th all-male school is added to the GPAC, numbers will always be skewed between men and women’s sports. The question remains: can the GPAC live with the uneven numbers?

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