ST. PAUL , MINN (Press Release/ WBUP) — The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) announced Friday, Oct. 2, that the Council of Presidents and Chancellors has approved the addition of Finlandia University as an associate football member beginning with the 2021 season.
“We are excited to have Finlandia University join the UMAC as an associate football member next fall,” said UMAC Commissioner Corey Borchardt. “Finlandia and the UMAC successfully engaged in scheduling agreements in the past, and our membership anticipates Finlandia will now be a viable, contributing associate member in our football conference.”
With the addition of Finlandia, the UMAC will maintain its automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III Championship for football with seven total members sponsoring the sport. Beginning in 2021, UMAC football teams will play a six-game regular season conference schedule beginning in week five. Each team will have one bye during the conference portion of the schedule.
Finlandia announced the addition of football as a varsity sport in 2014 and kicked off its inaugural season in 2015 as an independent NCAA Division III member. The Lions joined the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) as an affiliate member in 2018 and will complete their membership in the MIAA with the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic year.
Curtis Wittenberg, Finlandia University Athletic Director
“I couldn’t be more pleased that we were able to work out this arrangement. The UMAC is a great fit for us regionally in terms of travel. In addition, the mission, values and beliefs of the UMAC schools fits in perfectly with us.
We thank the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) for opening their arms to Finlandia University for the past two years. We have enjoyed being part of such a prestigious conference and are grateful for the opportunities our membership afforded our student-athletes.”
Philip Johnson, Finlandia University President
“Once again Curtis (Wittenberg, athletic director) has demonstrated strong leadership in positioning Finlandia athletics for success. Receiving associate membership in the UMAC for the sport of football is a very positive development.
The UMAC is built on a mission and set of values that align with Finlandia’s own athletics vision: academic success, diversity, community, and personal growth. On these shared commitments there is much opportunity for an enduring relationship.”