Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

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For other uses, see IIAC.

The Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) was a college athletic conference that existed from 1908 to 1970 in the United States.


At one time the IIAC was a robust league that claimed most of the Illinois institutions of higher education. It was nicknamed the "Little Nineteen," but in 1928 had a membership of 23 schools. Former Illinois State University track coach Joe Cogdal, associated with the IIAC for 43 years of its 62-year history, noted that the league had roots in the 1870s when a number of schools banded together for oratorical contests. Their first intercollegiate football game was played in 1881 between Illinois State University and Knox College, and by 1894 a football association was established.

The IIAC was formed in April 1908 with eight charter members: Illinois State Normal University (now Illinois State University), Illinois Wesleyan University, Bradley Polytechnic Institute (now Bradley University), Millikin University, Monmouth College, Knox College, Lombard College and Illinois College. The first track meet was held on May 22, 1908. The group quickly expanded. Eastern Illinois State Teachers College (now Eastern Illinois University) and Western Illinois University joined in 1912 and 1915 respectively.

In 1920, the name "Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference" was adopted, providing the initials IIAC. Conference membership reached a peak of 23 member schools in 1928, when virtually all of the small colleges in Illinois were included.

Private schools withdrew during much of the 1930s, until in 1942 only the five state schools remained: Illinois State University, Eastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Western Illinois University. In 1950, the league name became the Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, when Central Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University brought the membership to seven. In 1961, Eastern Michigan University and Southern Illinois University Carbondale withdrew; Northern Illinois University followed in 1966. The conference disbanded at the end of the 1969–1970 academic year.


Institution Location Founded Years in IIAC (approx.) Team Nickname
Illinois State University Normal, Illinois 1857 1910–1970 Redbirds
Bradley University Peoria, Illinois 1897 1910–1937 Braves
Eureka College Eureka, Illinois 1855 1910–1942 Red Devils
Hedding College (defunct) Abingdon, Illinois 1855 1910–1926 Orangemen
Illinois College Jacksonville, Illinois 1829 1910–1937 Blueboys
Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington, Illinois 1850 1910–1937 Titans
Lincoln College, Illinois Lincoln, Illinois 1865 1910–1928 Lynx
Lombard College (defunct) Galesburg, Illinois 1853 1910–1929 Golden Tornado/Olive
Millikin University Decatur, Illinois 1901 1910–1937 Big Blue
Shurtleff College (defunct) Alton, Illinois 1827 1910–1937 Pioneers/Bison
William & Vashti College (defunct) Aledo, Illinois 1908 1910–1917 unknown
Augustana College Rock Island, Illinois 1860 1912–1937 Vikings
Carthage College Carthage, Illinois 1847 1912–1941 Redmen
Eastern Illinois University Charleston, Illinois 1895 1912–1970 Panthers
McKendree College Lebanon, Illinois 1828 1912–1938 Bearcats
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale, Illinois 1869 1913–1962 Maroons/Salukis
Blackburn College Carlinville, Illinois 1837 1914–1923 Beavers
St. Viator College (defunct) Bourbonnais, Illinois 1865 1916–1938 Irish/Green
Western Illinois University Macomb, Illinois 1899 1914–1970 Leathernecks
Knox College Galesburg, Illinois 1837 1919–1937 Prairie Fire
Wheaton College Wheaton, Illinois 1860 1919–1937 Thunder
Lake Forest College Lake Forest, Illinois 1857 1919–1937 Foresters
Northern Illinois University DeKalb, Illinois 1895 1920–1965 Huskies
Monmouth College Monmouth, Illinois 1853 1921–1937 Fighting Scots
Mount Morris College (defunct) Mount Morris, Illinois 1839 1922–1931 Mountaineers/Mounders
Elmhurst College Elmhurst, Illinois 1871 1925–1941 Bluejays
North Central College Naperville, Illinois 1861 1927–1937 Cardinals
Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, Michigan 1892 1950–1970 Chippewas
Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti, Michigan 1849 1950–1961 Eagles

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