SLIAC adds two more schools


The St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) has added two schools to their conference starting this school year: Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, and Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi. They joined Webster, a founding member of SLIAC in 1989. 

Graphic by Max Breckwoldt.

“The competition level is second to none,” Lyon College’s Athletics Media and Communications Director Martin Couch said. “It’s gonna be a lot of fun to watch.” 

SLIAC is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and in order to qualify for the postseason, a conference must have either six or seven schools. The addition of Lyon College and Mississippi University for Women make ten. This puts SLIAC in a comfortable position if a school were to leave the conference or shut down.

One concern with adding new schools is travel time and the amount of time students may miss by leaving the classrooms so they can make it to the different schools. Mississippi University for Women is the furthest SLIAC competitor for the Gorloks at nearly seven hours away.

Webster Athletic Director Scott Kilgallon discussed a plan that SLIAC has put in place that includes schools taking multiple stops on a road trip in order to minimize the time students are away from the classroom. 

“[Spalding University] is typically an overnight trip anyways. So you go to Spalding one day and then piggyback and play Lyon the next day,” Kilgallon said.

Kilgallon mentioned that during the interview process of the two new schools, sportsmanship was a big part of what SLIAC was looking for. 

Sportsmanship isn’t a new topic for SLIAC. Before joining Mississippi University for Women, their athletic director, Jennifer Claybrook, worked at LaGrange College in Georgia whose football team was a part of SLIAC in 2008.

“They [SLIAC] want to make sure we have great sportsmanship. They took care of our team when we were there and vice versa; we did the same,” Claybrook said. 

Kilgallon summed it up in three words: academics, sportsmanship and respect. He said besides playing the games, he focuses on three aspects. The respect aspect of the game goes beyond just Webster and goes beyond SLIAC as well. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has a Respect Campaign that uses the slogan “RESPECT. It’s the name of the game.”

“To me, it’s about the greater good,” Claybrook said. “It’s about leaving a positive impact wherever we go. And then people understand our hearts are about competing at the highest level, but then also having respect for who we compete against.”

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Brian Rubin
Staff Writer | + posts