SAINT MARY-OF-THE-WOODS, Ind. – Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) was approved for River States Conference (RSC) membership by the Council of Presidents on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
The approval coincides with the College's membership to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), effective July 1, 2021. SMWC will be eligible for NAIA and RSC postseason competition during the 2022-23 academic year.
SMWC competes in 14 of the 17 RSC championship sports including men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track & field, softball, and volleyball.
RSC Commissioner Michael Schell is eager to add SMWC to the affiliation. "The River States Conference is excited to welcome Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College to the family," he said.
"They are an established and well-run program who, like our other members, emphasize academics and character in athletics. The Woods is a great addition to our conference, and we look forward to them competing with us in the fall," stated Schell.
The RSC is the first athletic conference membership since scholarship athletics began at the College. For SMWC President Dottie L. King, Ph.D., the transition is a positive one.
"I am thrilled that Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will become part of the River States Conference," King said. "I have already been warmly welcomed by member presidents and I look forward to both serving alongside them and creating competitive rivalries among our teams."
King foresees the transition bringing excitement to campus, saying, "New and exciting opportunities for our student-athletes will be a result, along with new excitement for our campus and the entire community!"
"The new membership in RSC will allow the College to attract more prospective student-athletes", says Brennan Randolph, vice president for enrollment management and institutional technology.
"As a member of the River States Conference, student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete at a higher level within a well-established conference," he said. "This level of competition and post-season championships for all sports is expected to be more appealing to prospective student-athletes that will help the entire athletic department grow."
Deanna Bradley, athletic director at SMWC, said she is glad to be joining the conference.
"We are excited to become a member of the River States Conference," she said. "We have competed against many of the institutions within the RSC for several years and consider it to be an extremely solid fit for SMWC. We look forward to working with those associated with the RSC and look forward to welcoming them to SMWC."
With 14 varsity sport offerings, SMWC is the second largest athletic department among the NAIA newcomers. SMWC has added seven varsity sports since 2014 with the opening of the $8.3 million Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center. Additional teams are planned in the upcoming years including men's basketball in fall 2021.
About the River States Conference | RSC
The River States Conference (RSC) was founded in 1916 as the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The league underwent a re-branding to best reflect its current membership and transformed its name to the River States Conference on July 1, 2016. The RSC has 13 member institutions representing five states - Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The Ohio River flows through the center of the geographic region of the conference and connects the five states.
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