Heart of America Athletic Conference

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Heart of America Athletic Conference
Heart of America Athletic Conference logo
Established 1971
Association NAIA
Division Division I
Members 10 (12 in 2015; 14 in 2016)
Sports fielded 19 (men's: 10; women's: 9)
Headquarters Overland Park, Kansas
Commissioner Lori Thomas (since 2014)
Website www.haacsports.com
Heart of America Athletic Conference locations

The Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) is a college athletic conference affiliated with the NAIA. Member institutions are located in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska in the United States.


The HAAC's earliest ancestor was the Missouri College Athletic Union, which was formed in 1924 when the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association (now the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) split in two. The old MIAA's private schools formed the Athletic Union, while the state teachers' colleges stayed in the MIAA[1] It was reorganized as the HAAC in 1971 when it began admitting schools outside Missouri. However, the HAAC does not presently claim the Athletic Union's history as its own.

All 10 conference schools are members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The only sport that utilizes divisions in the NAIA is basketball, and the HAAC is competing in its seventh season at the Division I level during the 2014-15 school year.[2]

Three schools have been members of the conference since its inception - Baker University, Graceland University and Missouri Valley College.[2]

In 1971, College of Emporia (KS), Ottawa University (KS), Tarkio College (MO), and William Jewell College were members, but they have since withdrawn from the conference. College of Emporia closed in 1974. Ottawa joined the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) in 1982, Tarkio closed in the spring of 1991 and William Jewell left at the conclusion of the 2010-11 school year to join the ranks of NCAA Division II. Central Methodist University, also an original member in 1971, withdrew from the conference in 1986, but was reinstated as a member in 1991.[2]

Culver-Stockton College and MidAmerica Nazarene University became members in 1980. Evangel University joined in 1987 while Benedictine joined in 1991 when Central Methodist was reinstated. Lindenwood University began competing in the conference in 1996 but concluded their affiliation at the conclusion of the 2010-11 school year as they began their transition to NCAA Division II status. Avila University began competing in all sports but football during the 2000-01 season and fielded its first football team ever in 2001. Peru State College became the newest school to join the storied conference as they began full competition during the 2011-12 academic year.[2]

In early 2014, Grand View University and William Penn University were announced as members for the 2015-16 school year.[3] In April 2015, Clarke University and Mount Mercy University were announced as members for the 2016-17 school year.[4]

The current commissioner of the conference is Lori Thomas. She is the first female commissioner in NAIA history. Lori began her term in office on July 1, 2014 succeeding Larry Lady, who retired after 22 years as commissioner.[2]

Member schools[edit]

Current members[edit]

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Joined
Avila University Kansas City, Missouri 1916 1,971 Eagles 2000
Baker University Baldwin City, Kansas 1858 3,076 Wildcats 1971
Benedictine College Atchison, Kansas 1858 2,012 Ravens 1991
Central Methodist University Fayette, Missouri 1854 5,437 Eagles 1971; 1991
Culver–Stockton College Canton, Missouri 1853 810 Wildcats 1980
Evangel University Springfield, Missouri 1955 1,911 Crusaders 1987
Graceland University Lamoni, Iowa 1895 2,222 Yellowjackets 1971
MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe, Kansas 1966 1,907 Pioneers 1980
Missouri Valley College Marshall, Missouri 1889 1,727 Vikings 1971
Peru State College Peru, Nebraska 1865 2,422 Bobcats 2011
  • Central Methodist — left the HAAC in 1986, and re-joined in 1991.

Future members[edit]

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Joins
Clarke University Dubuque, Iowa 1843 1,230 Crusaders 2016
Grand View University Des Moines, Iowa 1896 1,750 Vikings 2015
Mount Mercy University Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1928 1,490 Mustangs 2016
William Penn University Oskaloosa, Iowa 1873 1,550 Statesmen
Lady Statesmen

Former members[edit]

Institution Location Founded Nickname Joined Left Current Conference
College of Emporia Emporia, Kansas 1882 Fighting Presbies 1971 1974 Closed in 1974
Lindenwood University St. Charles, Missouri 1827 Lions 1996 2011 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association
Ottawa University Ottawa, Kansas 1865 Braves 1971 1981 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
Tarkio College Tarkio, Missouri 1883 Owls 1971 1992 Closed in 1992
William Jewell College Liberty, Missouri 1849 Cardinals 1971 2011 Great Lakes Valley Conference

Membership timeline[edit]

 Full member (all sports)   Full member (non-football) 


Conference sports
Sport Men's Women's
Baseball Green tickY
Basketball Green tickY Green tickY
Cross Country Green tickY Green tickY
Football Green tickY
Golf Green tickY Green tickY
Soccer Green tickY Green tickY
Softball Green tickY
Tennis Green tickY Green tickY
Track & Field Indoor Green tickY Green tickY
Track & Field Outdoor Green tickY Green tickY
Volleyball Green tickY
Wrestling Green tickY

See also[edit]


External links[edit]