Rams rejoin Midwest Conference
Coach Vince Brautigam’s Cornell College football team was in Appleton, Wis., for its Sept. 1 season opener with the Lawrence Vikings. On the same day back home, Patrick Cote’s women’s tennis squad squared off against the Knox Prairie Fire and Monmouth Fighting Scots.
If these opponents ring a bell, you’re probably on to something. They are the old, but new foes Cornell faces in 2012–13 with its return to the Midwest Conference (MWC).
After leaving the MWC following the 1996–97 season, the Rams are officially back in the conference they helped form in 1921. Prior to its departure to the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Cornell played a prominent role in the history and development of one of the top academic conferences in NCAA Division III.
“Rejoining the Midwest Conference allows Cornell to expand on its longstanding academic relationships with other members of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest,” said Cornell Faculty Athletic Representative Ellen Whale, who coached three MWC championship teams (volleyball, women’s track and field) in the 1980s.
Cornell has a prominent athletic footprint in the annals of league record books. Among the Rams’ 67 MWC championships, 12 were won by football and men’s basketball. Men’s cross country claimed nine titles. The Rams had 11 other programs capture league crowns.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to renew our affiliation with this excellent group of institutions, many of whom we have competed with throughout much of the entire history of our athletic program,” Cornell Director of Athletics John Cochrane said. “The Midwest Conference has been very gracious in welcoming us back and assisting in making this transition as seamless as possible; for that we are very grateful and excited to begin competition.”
With Cornell’s move into the MWC, schedules look different this year than in the past. The Rams will be slotted in the South Division in sports that are separated by divisions (women’s tennis, men’s tennis, softball, baseball). Football will see a schedule that features nine conference games and one nonconference contest. Men’s and women’s basketball will play a modified round robin schedule consisting of 18 conference games.
Cornell plans to continue its annual competitions with long-time rival Coe. Starting this fall the teams will compete for an all-sport traveling trophy—the Bremner Cup—named in honor of the legendary coach and administrator who served at both institutions.
The MWC is comprised of 11 liberal arts colleges in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin: Beloit College, Carroll University, Cornell College, Grinnell College, Illinois College, Knox College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Monmouth College, Ripon College, and St. Norbert College.