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Information regarding the potential move to the Great Plains Athletic Conference

Q: What are the benefits of making a possible move to the GPAC?
A: This potential move is aimed at ensuring the long-term success, conference stability and growth of Jimmie Athletics. The GPAC is one of the best conferences in the NAIA. The GPAC was our first choice when the DAC ceased operations (after the losses of University of Mary, Minot State, Black Hills State, South Dakota School of Mines, etc.), but the timing wasn’t right for the league or UJ and we began competing as an independent before the formation of the NSAA. The GPAC’s scholarship practices are also very much in alignment with how the University of Jamestown awards scholarships to student athletes.

Q: Will UJ lose its traditional North Dakota rivalries?
A: UJ hopes to maintain our rivalries and honor our rich athletic history with our in-state and in-region schools as non-conference opponents.

Q: Has the GPAC enjoyed a stable and successful history?
A: The GPAC has a stable 17 year history. Schools in the GPAC have won 23 NAIA national championships. We believe the stability and success of this conference will help insure a stable future for Jimmie athletics.

Q: Will UJ remain in the NAIA?
A: Yes, UJ will remain in the NAIA. The GPAC is an NAIA conference.

Q: What has been the process of exploring GPAC membership, who has been involved in the discussion and how will the due diligence progress?

We contacted the GPAC commissioner in late January about the possibility of UJ being considered for membership in the GPAC. He responded that they would be interested in exploring the possibility.

Prior to meeting with the Board of Trustees, there was thorough discussion including input from our coaching staff. A sub-committee was formed with representatives from the University’s Alumni and Jimmie Booster Boards as well as representatives from the Board of Trustees.

In May the Board of Trustees authorized the administration to proceed with the process of becoming a member of the GPAC so long as the conditions of the board are met.

During a GPAC site visit in June, representatives from a UJ Board committee along with representatives from our Alumni and Booster Club Boards will have an opportunity to ask questions and will provide input to the University’s board and administration.

Regardless of the outcome of these discussions, UJ will be a member of the North Star Athletic Association in 2016-17.

If the GPAC invites us and we decided to join, membership could begin as early as early as the 2017-18 season or later.

Q: Has there been a significant commitment to UJ Athletics from the administration?
A: The University’s administration is highly committed to supporting athletics now and during this possible transition. Since the 2010-11 athletic season, there has been a significant increase in the athletic department’s operating budget, including the acquisition of a 58 passenger coach bus. Construction has begun on the Harold Newman Arena which is scheduled to open in 2017-18, a new turf practice field was installed, a new wrestling room was built and the football locker room was refurbished in the summer of 2015. Newman Arena will not only give the department a competitive home for basketball, volleyball and wrestling, but will create new locker rooms for basketball, volleyball, and soccer. Plans are also in the works for future renovation of the Larson Center which will provide new locker rooms for our other sports.

Q: What schools are in the GPAC?
A: The GPAC Is a faith-based league of private schools with missions similar to University of Jamestown. Schools participating in this league include: Briar Cliff (Sioux City, Iowa); College of Saint Mary (Omaha, Nebraska); Concordia (Seward, Nebraska); Dakota Wesleyan (Mitchell, South Dakota); Doane (Crete, Nebraska); Dordt (Sioux Center, Iowa); Hastings (Hastings, Nebraska); Midland (Fremont, Nebraska); Morningside (Sioux City, Iowa); Mount Marty (Yankton, South Dakota);  Northwestern (Orange City, Iowa);

Q: Will travel costs increase with a possible move to the GPAC?
A: There may be an increase in travel costs for some sports.  The NSAA recently added schools that have expanded the geographical footprint of that league thereby increasing travel distance for current conference games.  In several sports the Jimmies are already traveling great distances for non-conference contests.  In some sports travel will not change except where they may be traveling for conference championship events (Track, Cross Country, and Golf). Serious study has been done related to the effect of travel cost as well as consideration to the student athlete experience.

Q: Will our student-athletes miss additional class time with the move?
A: UJ is committed to securing a schedule in the GPAC that will reduce missed class time for our students through weekend competitions.

Q: Do GPAC schools offer sports similar to UJ and how will that affect scheduling?

The GPAC offers conference championships in all sports that UJ competes in with the exception of hockey and women’s wrestling.  We would gain men’s wrestling as a conference sport with eight other GPAC schools sponsoring men’s wrestling.

In football we would have a 9 game conference schedule without having to play any teams more than once. All 10 schools in the GPAC sponsor track and field, whereas only 6 teams compete in our current league.  We will have 20 league games in men’s basketball and 22 in women’s basketball compared to our current total of 16. In soccer the GPAC has a 10-game (women) and 9-game (men) league schedule where we currently have a 4-game schedule. Conference games for volleyball would remain the same at 16.

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Posted:June 8, 2016

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