Christian Zylstra- Staff Writer
After months of planning, preparing and hoping, the University of Jamestown has a new home within the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
The GPAC and University of Jamestown held a joint press conference on Oct. 13 at the Foss Wellness Center on Jamestown’s campus to announce the new conference affiliation between the conference and university.
Jamestown will officially be the 12th member of the GPAC on July 1, 2018.
“This is a great day for the University of Jamestown, Jimmie Athletics and our student-athletes,” said University of Jamestown Athletic Director Sean Johnson in an official press release. “This is an opportunity for us to be associated with one of the best NAIA conferences in the country.”
The GPAC Council of Presidents met at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, on Oct. 11, where they voted and surpassed the necessary 75 percent approval votes to welcome in Jamestown.
“Jamestown brings everything we want in a Great Plains Athletic Conference school,” said GPAC Commissioner Corey Westra.
Westra added that Jamestown’s makeup, including its faith-based nature, robust sports offerings and their desire to move forward were major factors in the decision to welcome the university into the conference.
In an age of conference realignment and continuous change, a forward outlook is important to embrace.
“Change is something that we look forward to, and this change in particular is going to bring many rewards for future student athletes wearing the Jimmie uniform in the years to come,” said University of Jamestown President Robert S. Badal, Ph.D.
This press release marks the second addition to the GPAC in recent years. College of Saint Mary (Nebraska), an all-women’s college, joined the conference in 2015.
Nebraska Wesleyan University’s move from the GPAC to NCAA Division III in July of 2016 keyed the search for another GPAC member school.
Jamestown will finish this academic year and the next as a member of the North Star Athletic Association before moving to the GPAC for the 2017-18 academic calendar.