This season will mark the first year where the winner of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs. Having the distinction of being a AQ (automatic qualifier) conference is very important for both the UMAC and the Greenville College Panthers.
This season the winner of the UMAC will be one of 32 teams competing to play in the 2011 Stagg Bowl. The Stagg Bowl is the name of the NCAA Division III national championship game held in Salem, Va.
Since joining the UMAC in 2009, the Panthers have won consecutive conference championships. If the UMAC was an AQ conference in 2009 and 2010 the Panthers would have had a shot at the Stagg Bowl.
Alas, the Panthers are still looking for their first trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs. Greenville College’s post season experience includes two appearances in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) national championship game, the Victory Bowl, in 2000 and 2009. The only playoff appearance for the Panthers was in 1990 when the school was a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). You watch the story about that team here.
Follow all season long to see if these Panthers can replicate the 1990 team and make the playoffs.