Heart of America Athletic Conference
AssociationNAIA
Founded1971
CommissionerNik Rule (since 2024)
Sports fielded
  • 23
    • men's: 12
    • women's: 11
No. of teams13 (15 in 2025)
HeadquartersOverland Park, Kansas
RegionWest North Central
Official websitewww.haacsports.com
Locations
Location of teams in (({title))}

The Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC or The Heart)[1] is a college athletic conference affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Member institutions are located in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska in the United States.

History

Heart of America Athletic Conference
Map
About OpenStreetMaps
Maps: terms of use
100km
62miles
Baker
William Woods
Missouri Baptist
Park
Mount Mercy
Clarke
William Penn
Grand View
Peru State
Benedictine
MidAmerica Nazarene
Culver–Stockton
Central Methodist
Missouri Valley
.
Graceland
  
Location of HAAC members: current, future

The HAAC's earliest ancestor was the Missouri College Athletic Union (MCAU), which was formed in 1924 when the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association (now the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association or MIAA) split in two. The old MIAA's private schools formed the Athletic Union, while the state teachers' colleges stayed in the MIAA.[2] It was reorganized as the HAAC in 1971 when it began admitting schools outside Missouri. However, the HAAC does not presently claim the Athletic Union's history as its own.

In early 2014, Grand View University and William Penn University were announced as members for the 2015–16 school year.[3] In April 2015, Clarke University and Mount Mercy University were also announced as members for the 2016–17 school year.[4] In October 2019, Park University was approved for HAAC membership and joined in the 2020–21 school year.[5] On February 10, 2022, long-serving Evangel University accepted its invitation to join the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, also Kansas-based, in 2023–24.[6]

On July 24, 2023, William Woods University (alongside St. Ambrose) announced they would join the conference as associate members in football beginning in the 2024 fall season (2024 25 academic year). The expansion made it NAIA's largest football conference with 14 teams playing in two divisions.[7]

The current commissioner of the conference is Lori Thomas. Thomas, the first female commissioner in NAIA history, began her term in 2014,[8] succeeding Larry Lady who retired after 22 years as commissioner.[citation needed]

Chronological timeline

Member schools

Current members

The HAAC currently has thirteen full members, all but one are private schools: All but one of the private schools are religiously affiliated.

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined[a]
Baker University Baldwin City, Kansas 1858 United Methodist 989 Wildcats 1971
Benedictine College Atchison, Kansas 1858 Catholic
(Benedictines)
2,189 Ravens 1991
Central Methodist University Fayette, Missouri 1854 United Methodist 1,094 Eagles 1971;
1991[b]
Clarke University Dubuque, Iowa 1843 Catholic
(B.V.M.)
1,075 Pride 2016
Culver–Stockton College Canton, Missouri 1853 Disciples of Christ 1,066 Wildcats 1980
Graceland University Lamoni, Iowa 1895 Community of Christ 2,301 Yellowjackets 1971
Grand View University Des Moines, Iowa 1896 Lutheran ELCA 1,988 Vikings 2015
MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe, Kansas 1966 Nazarene 1,884 Pioneers 1980
Missouri Valley College Marshall, Missouri 1889 Presbyterian
(PCUSA)
1,728 Vikings 1971
Mount Mercy University Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1928 Catholic
(R.S.M.)
1,877 Mustangs 2016
Park University Parkville, Missouri 1875 Nonsectarian 2,340 Pirates 2020
Peru State College Peru, Nebraska 1865 Public 2,422 Bobcats 2011
William Penn University Oskaloosa, Iowa 1873 Quakers 1,550 Statesmen &
Lady Statesmen
2015
Notes
  1. ^ Represents the calendar year when fall sports competition begins.
  2. ^ Central Methodist left the HAAC after the 1985–86 school year; before re-joining back in the 1991–92 school year.

Future members

The HAAC will have two new members, both are private schools as well as current HAAC affiliate members.

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joining[a] Current conference
Missouri Baptist University Creve Coeur, Missouri 1957 Baptist 5,309 Spartans 2025 American Midwest
William Woods University Fulton, Missouri 1870 Disciples of Christ 2,300 Owls
Notes
  1. ^ Represents the calendar year when fall sports competition begins.

Affiliate members

The HAAC currently has five affiliate members, all but one are private schools:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined HAAC
sport
Primary
conference
Dickinson State University Dickinson, North Dakota 1918 Public 1,392 Blue Hawks 2017m.wr.
2023w.wr.
men's wrestling;
women's wrestling
North Star (NSAA)
Missouri Baptist University Creve Coeur, Missouri 1957 Baptist 5,309 Spartans 2020m.vb.
2023fb
men's volleyball;
football
American Midwest
Mount Vernon Nazarene University Mount Vernon, Ohio 1964 Nazarene 2,622 Cougars 2023m.lac. men's lacrosse Crossroads
St. Ambrose University Davenport, Iowa 1882 Catholic
(Diocese of Davenport)
3,607 Fighting Bees 2021m.wr.
2023m.lac.
2023w.lac.
men's wrestling;
men's lacrosse;
women's lacrosse
Chicagoland (CCAC)
University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri 1864 Nonsectarian 1,350 Eutectics 2020 men's volleyball American Midwest
Waldorf University Forest City, Iowa 1903 For-profit[a] 4,500 Warriors 2020m.wr.
2020w.wr.
men's wrestling;
women's wrestling
North Star (NSAA)
Notes
  1. ^ Formerly affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) until 2010.

Future affiliate members

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joining HAAC
sport
Primary
conference
Columbia College Columbia, Missouri 1851 Nonsectarian 4,000 Cougars 2025m.lac. men's lacrosse American Midwest
Midland University Fremont, Nebraska 1883 Lutheran ELCA 1,394 Warriors 2025m.lac.
2025w.lac.
men's lacrosse;
women's lacrosse
Great Plains (GPAC)
Missouri Baptist University Creve Coeur, Missouri 1957 Baptist 5,309 Spartans 2025m.lac.
2025w.lac.
men's lacrosse;
women's lacrosse
American Midwest
Ottawa University Ottawa, Kansas 1865 Baptist 726 Braves 2025m.lac.
2025w.lac.
men's lacrosse;
women's lacrosse
Kansas (KCAC)
St. Ambrose University Davenport, Iowa 1882 Catholic
(Diocese of Davenport)
3,607 Fighting Bees 2024 football Chicagoland (CCAC)
University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri 1864 Nonsectarian 1,350 Eutectics 2025 women's lacrosse American Midwest
William Woods University Fulton, Missouri 1870 Disciples of Christ 2,300 Owls 2024 football;
men's lacrosse
American Midwest

Former members

The HAAC has seven former full members, all were private schools:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Nickname Joined Left Subsequent
conference
Current
conference
Avila University Kansas City, Missouri 1916 Catholic
(C.S.J.)
1,676 Eagles 2000 2018 Kansas (KCAC)
(2018–present)
College of Emporia Emporia, Kansas 1882 Presbyterian N/A Fighting Presbies 1971 1974 Closed in 1974
Evangel University Springfield, Missouri 1955 Assemblies of God 1,511 Valor 1987 2023 Kansas (KCAC)
(2023–present)
Lindenwood University St. Charles, Missouri 1827 Presbyterian
(PCUSA)
4,822 Lions 1996 2011 various Ohio Valley (OVC)[a]
(2022–present)
Ottawa University Ottawa, Kansas 1865 American Baptist 726 Braves 1971 1982 Kansas (KCAC)
(1982–present)
Tarkio College Tarkio, Missouri 1883 Presbyterian
(UPCUSA)
N/A Owls 1971 1992 Closed in 1992
William Jewell College Liberty, Missouri 1849 Nonsectarian 738 Cardinals 1971 2011 Great Lakes Valley (GLVC)[b]
(2011–present)
Notes
  1. ^ Currently an NCAA Division I athletic conference.
  2. ^ Currently an NCAA Division II athletic conference.

Former affiliate members

The HAAC had one former affiliate member; which was also a private school:

Institution Location Founded Affiliation Nickname Joined Left HAAC
sport
Current
primary
conference
Conference
in former
HAAC sport
Iowa Wesleyan University Mount Pleasant, Iowa 1842 United Methodist Tigers 2021 2023 men's wrestling;
women's wrestling
N/A[a]
Notes
  1. ^ Iowa Wesleyan closed at the end of the 2022–23 school year, ending its affiliation status.

Membership timeline

William Woods UniversitySt. Ambrose UniversityIowa Wesleyan UniversityWaldorf UniversityUniversity of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. LouisMissouri Baptist UniversityPark UniversityDickinson State UniversityMount Mercy UniversityClarke UniversityWilliam Penn UniversityGrand View UniversityPeru State CollegeKansas Collegiate Athletic ConferenceAvila UniversityOhio Valley ConferenceGreat Lakes Valley ConferenceMid-America Intercollegiate Athletics AssociationNCAA Division II independent schoolsLindenwood UniversityBenedictine CollegeKansas Collegiate Athletic ConferenceEvangel UniversityMidAmerica Nazarene UniversityCulver–Stockton CollegeGreat Lakes Valley ConferenceWilliam Jewell CollegeTarkio CollegeKansas Collegiate Athletic ConferenceOttawa UniversityMissouri Valley CollegeGraceland UniversityCollege of EmporiaNAIA independent schoolsCentral Methodist UniversityBaker University

 Full member (all sports)   Full member (non-football)   Associate member (football)   Associate member (sport) 

Sports

The conference also sponsors co-ed varsity sports of dance and cheer.

A divisional format is used for baseball, men's and women's basketball, football, and women's volleyball.
North
  • Clarke
  • Culver–Stockton
  • Graceland
  • Grand View
  • Peru State
  • William Penn
  • Mount Mercy (non-football)
South
  • Baker
  • Benedictine
  • Central Methodist
  • MidAmerica Nazarene
  • Missouri Valley
  • Park (non-football)
Conference sports
Sport Men's Women's
Baseball Green tickY
Basketball Green tickY Green tickY
Bowling Green tickY Green tickY
Cross Country Green tickY Green tickY
Football Green tickY
Golf Green tickY Green tickY
Lacrosse Green tickY Green tickY
Soccer Green tickY Green tickY
Softball Green tickY
Tennis Green tickY Green tickY
Track & Field Indoor Green tickY Green tickY
Track & Field Outdoor Green tickY Green tickY
Volleyball Green tickY
Wrestling Green tickY Green tickY

See also

Notes

References

  1. ^ "Heart unveils new brans, logo". Heart of America Athletic Conference. May 7, 2015. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  2. ^ MIAA Archived July 9, 2012, at archive.today
  3. ^ "Heart of America Conference adds two Iowa members". The Kansas City Star. January 10, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  4. ^ "Clarke, Mount Mercy approved for membership". Heart of America Athletic Conference. April 2, 2015. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  5. ^ "Park set to join Heart of America in 2020". Victory Sports Network. October 9, 2019. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  6. ^ "Evangel University Accepts Invitation to Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference". Evangel Valor. February 10, 2022. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  7. ^ "William Woods football joins Heart of America conference" ABC 17 News. Retrieved 2023-07-26.
  8. ^ "About us". Heart of America Athletic Conference. 2015. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015.