The Great West Conference is made up of 10 intercollegiate institutions that range geographically from New Jersey to Texas to California. The 10 member schools are spread out over seven states and four time zones, giving each school added exposure - both in terms of media and recruiting - in new destinations. The conference affiliation also generates much interest within the 10 institutions' substantial alumni base.
The conference, which began as a football-only league, took a giant leap in the collegiate athletic world when the conference expanded to include several additional sports and several new members.
Joining the league in 2008 were Chicago State University, Houston Baptist University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of North Dakota, University of South Dakota, Texas-Pan American and Utah Valley University. These seven schools joined football only members Cal Poly, UC Davis and Southern Utah University to make up the 10-member league. South Dakota participated as a full member since joining the league but competed only in football in the GWC for the 2011 season.
In addition to football, championships conducted during the 2008-09 academic year were men's and women's cross country, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, and men's and women's golf. Team sports in baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball began league play in 2009-10.
As the conference began planning for multi-team sport competition in 2009-10, several teams were added in the sports of women's soccer and baseball to help provide a more diverse and competitive field. Delaware State, Howard and South Carolina State joined as associate members in women's soccer, while Northern Colorado and New York Institute of Technology joined as associate members in baseball. In addition, Seattle University was added as an associate member in cross country and track and field in 2009 and women's tennis in 2010. Nebraska-Omaha and CSU Bakersfield are the most recent additions to the Great West family--UNO is competing in softball for the 2012 season, while CSUB competes in outdoor track and field for the first time in 2012.
Officially announced Feb. 25, 2004, charter members of the Great West Football Conference were California Polytechnic State University; University of California, Davis; North Dakota State University; University of Northern Colorado; South Dakota State University; and Southern Utah University.
Conference competition began on Sept. 4, 2004 with UC Davis scoring a 52-0 win over South Dakota State and Northern Colorado notching a 15-13 win over North Dakota State.
The Great West wrapped up its proud tradition in football in 2011 and has been rated as one of the best in Football Championship Subdivision. The league boasted wins over FBS teams the last five years, with victories over Ball State, San Diego State, Central Michigan, San Jose State, Minnesota and UNLV. UC Davis put the Great West on the map early in the 2005 season with a win over Stanford in what media observers believed to be the biggest upset of the 2005 college football season.
The Great West Conference recognizes student-athletes on both a weekly and full-season basis. Individual awards include Players of the Week; All-Conference teams; an Academic All-Conference team; and Player, Newcomer and Coach of the Year awards. The league also crowns team champions for both regular season and postseason competition.
The governance of the Great West Conference remains primarily with the member institutions. Each member institution is represented on the President's Council by its respective CEO. The general operations and management of the Conference will be conducted by the Directors of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrators (Joint Council). Scheduling of contests, assignment of officials and certain media relations functions remain with member institutions.
CONFERENCE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE
Ed Grom, Commissioner
P.O. Box 9344
Naperville, IL 60567
Phone: (630) 428-4492
Fax: (630) 548-0705
Mike Sharpe, Assistant Commissioner
Phone: (816) 210-4305
Jacque Cottrell, Director of Media Relations (SWA)
Phone: (713) 305-8614
Cliff Martin, Media Relations Assistant
Phone: (214) 770-6463