When many college sports fans around the Missouri-Kansas-Oklahoma border woke up on Sunday morning, their first thoughts may have been about Missouri and Texas A&M’s official welcoming into the SEC. Or maybe they were more interested in TCU and West Virginia climbing aboard the Big 12.
And while those are indeed big stories, this little slice of the Midwest is pretty fond of its NCAA Division II sports, specifically the MIAA.
And on Sunday, the league officially added four members —Northeastern State, Central Oklahoma, Lindenwood and Nebraska-Kearney —spiking its membership to an all-time high of 15 schools.
The MIAA’s borders now stretch from the plains of central Nebraska to suburban St. Louis to the green country of northeastern Oklahoma to the dusty Oklahoma City metro.
Here is a quick look at the MIAA’s new members:
University of Central Oklahoma
Distance from Joplin—213 miles (approximately 3 hours, 20 minutes)
FYI—Central Oklahoma easily becomes the largest MIAA school in terms of enrollment, narrowly topping fellow newcomer Lindenwood. Central Missouri, with 11,000 students, was the MIAA’s largest school.
Northeastern State University
Distance from Joplin—113 miles (approximately 2 hours, 15 minutes)
FYI—NSU changed its mascot to the RiverHawks from the Redmen in 2006. Tahlequah is the capital of the modern Cherokee Nation.
University of Nebraska-Kearney
Distance from Joplin—473 miles (approximately 8 hours)
FYI—The Lopers will bring a second ‘Pride of the Plain’ marching bad to the league. Pittsburg State also uses the nickname for its band.
Location—St. Charles, Mo.
Distance from Joplin—291 miles (approximately 4 hours, 45 minutes)
FYI—Lindenwood becomes the oldest school in the league, 24 years older than Northeastern State (1851) and 38 years older than Washburn (1865).