Chicago to join Midwest as affiliated member

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GRINNELL, Iowa – The Midwest Conference (MWC) announced that the University of Chicago will join the league as an affiliate member for baseball beginning with the 2018-19 academic year. 

UChicago recently completed its first season as an affiliate member of the MWC for football. 

When the MWC welcomed UChicago as an affiliate in football, Knox College President and Chair of the MWC Presidents’ Council Teresa Amott commented: UChicago is a great representation of MWC ideals both in the classroom and on the playing field.  She reiterated the sentiment upon extending an offer in baseball.

“Realigning baseball with the Midwest Conference after many years competing independently is exciting,” said UChicago Athletic Director Erin McDermott.  “This will provide our baseball team with an excellent competitive experience within our region and access to post-season championships. We are grateful to the Midwest Conference members for approving our affiliate membership and to Executive Director Heather Benning for her leadership in stewarding the process.”

Beginning in 2018-19, UChicago will become the MWC’s 10th institution that sponsors baseball. The league is currently comprised of nine full-member sponsoring schools. The MWC will compete in a divisional format with five teams in the North Division and five teams in the South Division; UChicago is scheduled to join the North Division.  The top-two finishers in each division qualify for the four-team, double elimination MWC Championship Tournament.  The tournament winner is crowned the MWC Champion and earns the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“We are tremendously excited to be rejoining the Midwest Conference in 2019,” said Head Coach John Fitzgerald, referring to the fact that the Maroons were full members of the league from 1976-87.  “The Midwest Conference provides a perfect fit for our baseball program and an opportunity to compete against some of the nation’s top-ranked academic institutions every weekend.

“We are also very excited about the ability to significantly increase our student-athlete experience by allowing them an opportunity to compete for conference championships and for the first time in 30 years, experience the excitement of a ‘pennant race,’” he continued. “The ability to provide our players with those tangible experiences and goals will significantly increase their experience as baseball players at the University of Chicago. The level of competition and success that the Conference has attained in recent years will strengthen our schedule and provide a phenomenal opportunity for our players and fans.”

The Maroons compiled a 22-15 overall record during the 2017 season. Entering his fourth year as UChicago’s head coach, Fitzgerald has led the team to a three-year record of 58-39 (.598 winning percentage).

The Midwest Conference’s membership includes 10 private, liberal arts colleges and universities in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin: Beloit College, Cornell College, Grinnell College, Illinois College, Knox College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Monmouth College, Ripon College and St. Norbert College.