The modern-era Midwest Conference was created in the spring of 1994 with the merger of the Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC), which had been sponsoring men’s championships since 1921, and the Midwest Athletic Conference for Women (MACW), which was formed to conduct women’s championship competition in 1977. The stated intent of the union was to preserve the tradition of both leagues while enhancing administration efficiency and fostering equity between men and women’s sports.
Track and field was the only sport contested in the MCAC’s inaugural year while football and basketball were added in 1922. Lawrence, Coe and Millikin topped the initial football standings in 1922, and Beloit won the first basketball championship in 1922-23. Cross country was added in 1929, tennis in 1931, golf in 1934, swimming in 1936, wrestling in 1938, baseball in 1953, soccer in 1971 and indoor track (which previously had an informal champion) in 1977.
The purpose of the Conference since its formation has been to “maintain athletic activities on a plane in keeping with the dignity and high purpose of liberal education.” Competitive sports are regarded as a valuable part of the educational experience and are maintained for the benefit of students.
The MACW formed in 1977 after the “status of women’s athletics” on MCAC campuses was assessed and reported to be growing. The Conference adopted a governance structure similar to that of its male counterpart, empowering faculty with ultimate control and governance on major decisions. Geneva Meers, Cornell Professor of English, assumed the role of commissioner in 1978 and remained in that position until replaced by Ruth Peterson. Charter members of the MACW were Coe, Cornell, Grinnell, Knox and Monmouth. Championships in basketball, cross country, outdoor track & field, softball, swimming and volleyball were offered in the first year. Beloit was accepted to the league in 1981, Illinois College and the University of Chicago in 1982 and Lake Forest, Lawrence, Ripon and St. Norbert in 1983. Indoor track became a championship sport in 1984 and soccer was added in 1986.
As part of our educational philosophy, members and affiliates of the Midwest Conference maintain that academic and athletic achievement are not mutually exclusive, purposefully supporting student-athletes in the pursuit of excellence in all that they do. We accomplish this goal, collectively and individually, by:
- Valuing and supporting student-athlete well being,
- Fostering and modeling sportsmanship,
- Respecting and advancing diversity, and
- Celebrating competitive success.