Spartan Football Accepted into Mid-States Football Association
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A major step in the progress of the newest sport at Missouri Baptist University was announced on Wednesday. The Spartan football program was officially accepted into the Mid-States Football Association.
MBU, which was accepted into the MSFA along with Lindenwood University-Belleville, will begin competing in conference play as part of the Midwest League in the fall of 2014.
The Midwest League is made up of Grand View University (Iowa), Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.), Saint Ambrose University (Iowa), 2011 NAIA National Champion Saint Xavier University (Ill.), Trinity International University (Ill.) and William Penn University(Iowa).
The Mideast League is made up of Concordia University of Michigan, 2012 NAIA National Champion Marian University (Ind.), Robert Morris University (Ill.), Siena Heights University (Mich.), University of Saint Francis (Ind.), University of St. Francis (Ill.) and Taylor University (Ind.).
“We are excited about our acceptance into the MSFA,” said Dr. Tom Smith, MBU director of athletics. “The other programs in the MSFA are solid and among the strongest in the NAIA. We are looking forward to a long-standing relationship in this highly competitive conference.”
The MSFA conference is considered one of the best football conferences in the entire NAIA. The final 2012-13 NAIA national rankings saw six members of the MSFA in the top 25, the most out of any conference in the nation. Marian (Ind.) topped the final rankings after a national title, Saint Xavier (Ill.) finished fourth after a 12-2 record, Saint Francis (Ind.) finished sixth with a 9-3 record, Saint Ambrose (Iowa) ended with a 9-2 record and a ranking of 10th, William Penn (Iowa) finished 15th after a 9-3 season and Grand View (Iowa) finished ranked 17th with a 8-3 record. Robert Morris (Ill.) finished the season receiving votes for the top 25.
“There will be no off-weeks in this conference,” said Head Coach Jason Burianek. “The MSFA has a tremendous amount of success putting teams into the playoffs and in the national title game.”
Saint Francis (Ind.) currently holds the longest active streak in the nation for being voted into the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll with 167. Saint Xavier has a streak of 56 consecutive polls in the top 25.
The MSFA has a long-standing dominance in the NAIA playoffs, having at least one member of the conference in the NAIA semifinals every season since 2002, and National Champions in 1994, 1995, 1997, 2011 and 2012.
“As a coaching staff, we can honestly tell our players and our recruits that we are going up against the best there is at this level,” Burianek said. “If we are successful within this conference, it will prepare us to win a national title.”