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June 8, 2017

Avila to Join KCAC in Fall 2018

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) Board of Presidents is pleased to announce Avila University has accepted an invitation for membership into the conference effective with the 2018-19 academic year.

Dr. Scott Crawford, KCAC Commissioner expressed, "We are delighted to have Avila University join our ranks. This addition further establishes the KCAC as a flagship conference within the NAIA."

He added, "Avila's presence provides several opportunities in the Kansas City market to our current membership. It allows for additional alumni networking, increases the recruitment of student-athletes, and strengthens geographic balance within the conference footprint."

Avila will become the KCAC's thirteenth active member, joining Bethany College, Bethel College, Friends University, Kansas Wesleyan University, McPherson College, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Ottawa University, Southwestern College, Sterling College, Tabor College, University of Saint Mary and York College. Avila will be the first school from the state of Missouri to join the KCAC, bringing with them the coveted Kansas City market.

"Avila University is delighted to be accepted into the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The KCAC is made up of colleges and universities that reflect similar missions to Avila, and I believe our membership will allow us to continue to grow as an institution." Avila University President Dr. Ron Slepitza stated. "We look forward to joining such a long-standing and prestigious conference that shares many of our same values for the academic and spiritual development of student-athletes."

Located in Kansas City, Mo., Avila University is a four-year Catholic University sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and is a values-based community of learning providing liberal arts, professional, undergraduate and graduate education to prepare students for responsible, lifelong contributions to the global community. Avila University, which opened as St. Teresa's College in 1916 before becoming Avila in 1963, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Avila Director of Athletics Cristina Cowan said that the announcement brought great excitement to the department and university as a whole.

"Joining the KCAC is a major step forward for Avila, both from a department and university standpoint," Cowan said. "The KCAC and its members have been very welcoming through this entire process, and I speak for myself and all of our coaches in saying we are beyond excited to start this new journey."

She added, "The KCAC has a strong tradition of excellence both through competition on the field and through student-athlete experience, and we are very excited to be a part of that tradition. This is a historic day for Avila as we enter a conference that will benefit us in so many ways. Our intention is to add strength to a league that has a long tradition of excellence throughout the NAIA."

Slepitza and Cowan both expressed appreciation to the Heart of America Athletic Conference and Commissioner Lori Thomas.

"Lori and my fellow colleagues in the Heart have been courteous and understanding about our departure," Cowan said. "We wish The Heart all the best."

Avila University offers the following sports: softball, baseball, men's and women's cross country, volleyball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's outdoor track and field and cheerleading and dance.

About the KCAC

The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference – known as the KCAC or "The Kansas Conference" – dates back as far as 1890 in its earliest stage.

The origins of the KCAC are traced to February 15, 1890, when the Kansas Intercollegiate Athletic Association became the result of the first successful attempt at organization among Kansas colleges, "to promote and regulate amateur intercollegiate athletics." At that time the association or conference included not only private universities and colleges but also Kansas Agriculture College (now KSU), Kansas University, and Washburn University. In about 1902 this early association became allied with the Kansas College Athletic Conference, a group which was the first to adopt a definite set of rules and regulations.

The KCAC is an affiliated conference of the National Association of intercollegiate Athletics with headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Today the KCAC sponsors conference intercollegiate athletics in football, volleyball, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's soccer, women's soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's indoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, women's outdoor track and field, baseball, softball, men's golf, women's tennis, and men's tennis.

For more information about the KCAC, visit www.kcacsports.com

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