RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — The Great American Conference announced its Council of Presidents approved changes to the league’s upcoming football and basketball schedules, as well as alterations to the conference’s championship formats.
The 2020 football season now consists of the GAC’s 12 member schools playing a 10-game conference schedule that can begin on Thursday, September 10. The 10-game slate corresponds with changes to maximum playing seasons passed by the NCAA Division II Presidents Council in May.
For the 2020-21 basketball season, the league will still compete in a double round-robin format but will eliminate non-conference contests. That season opens on Friday, November 13. The 22-game season represents the maximum playable contests set forth by the NCAA.
“The Great American Conference athletic administrators, Commissioner Will Prewitt and Council of Presidents have worked very diligently to modify sports schedules to comply with new NCAA Division II guidelines,” Northwestern Oklahoma State President and GAC Council of Presidents Chairwoman Dr. Janet Cunningham said. “I believe we have struck a good balance of cost efficiencies and student-athlete safety while also preserving the student-athlete experience.”
With regards to the 14 conference championships within the GAC, the number of competing teams will remain the same as in years past. However, a series of championships will see a reduction in length and multiple events will move to campus locations. The volleyball, basketball, golf, women’s tennis, baseball and softball championships see one-day reductions in their formats.
“I’m appreciative our leadership identified ways to retain championship experiences for as many teams and individuals as possible,” Prewitt said. “These decisions are not pleasant to make, but our presidents, athletic directors and additional administrators have worked hard to balance the financial realities that we are battling with allowing student-athletes to compete for championships.”