The KCAC continues to expand its horizons.
The 10-team conference, which includes McPherson College and Bethany College, announced Monday afternoon that it has entered into an agreement with the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) on a series of football games beginning in 2015.
The two-year deal between the conferences would pair teams based on their conference finishes in 2013 and 2014 for the 2015 and 2016 challenges. KCAC teams will host the first set of nonconference games on Sept. 5, 2015, with the GPAC playing host the following season.
"Speaking on behalf of the KCAC and its member institutions, we look forward to seeing the teams compete on the field in 2015,” KCAC commissioner Dr. Scott Crawford said. “It will be a great reward following the hard work and collaboration of coaches and sports chairs from each league.”
“From Day One, our administrators and coaches were on board to make this work,” GPAC commissioner Corey Westra said. “The fans of the NAIA and our two leagues are in for some outstanding small college football.”
One of the primary intents of the scheduling arrangement is to ease overall scheduling for teams from both conferences. Based on the agreement, teams will have one additional nonconference game to schedule outside of the KCAC/GPAC Challenge. Following the series game each year, both leagues will move into their respective conference schedules and play nine consecutive weeks of league games.
The KCAC currently is in the second year of a two-year series with the Heart of America Conference. KCAC schools hosted the Heart teams in 2013, splitting the 10 games. The Heart teams will be hosting the KCAC teams this fall.
Due to a contractual obligation for 2015 and 2016, Dordt College (Iowa) will be unable to participate in the challenge, bringing the GPAC participants to nine. In order to compensate, Bethany College will not compete in the challenge during 2015 and the 10th-place KCAC team in 2014 will not compete in the 2016 challenge.
For the upcoming 2014 season, there are four KCAC/GPAC games on the schedule. They include Nebraska Wesleyan at Tabor; Hastings at Kansas Wesleyan, Concordia at Sterling, Friends at Doane. All games to be played Sept. 6.
Week 2 of the 2013 season saw three KCAC/GPAC competitions: Hastings hosted and defeated Kansas Wesleyan (38-20), Tabor bested Nebraska Wesleyan on the road (10-9) and Friends defeated Doane at home in overtime (24-21).
Here are the games scheduled for 2015:
Morningside at Sterling
Northwestern at Tabor
Dakota Wesleyan at Ottawa
Nebraska Wesleyan at Friends
Doane at McPherson College
Concordia at Southwestern
Midland at Kansas Wesleyan
Briar Cliff at Saint Mary
Hastings at Bethel