WHITEWATER, Wis. - The Central Intercollegiate Bowling Conference (CIBC) has been approved by the NCAA Division III Membership Committee as an active NCAA Division III single-sport member conference effective September 1, 2019.
Marian University women's bowling will join Augustana, Aurora, Elmhurst, North Central (Ill.), and UW-Whitewater in the conference, which is on track to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA championship starting in the 2021-22 season. The winner of the conference tournament, which will be conducted starting in 2019-20, will receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship following the two-year probationary period.
"I am extremely excited to receive word about the new NCAA bowling conference for our women's program," commented Marian director of athletics Jason Bartelt. "This will be a great, competitive conference and will enhance the student-athlete experience for our future women's bowlers."
The CIBC is the ninth official intercollegiate bowling conference, joining the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the East Coast Conference, the Great Lakes Valley Conference, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the Northeast Conference, the Southland Bowling League, and the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Michael Kraushaar will serve as Commissioner of the CIBC. Kraushaar started the Northwest Indiana Junior Touring Players Association (NWIJTPA), which gives youth bowlers the opportunity to earn scholarships, qualify for the Junior Gold tournament and gain national exposure and notice from college coaches. He currently serves as director of the NWIJTPA.
The CIBC's inaugural season will begin in October. The annual CIBC Tournament will take place in March and will be hosted by member schools on a rotational basis.
"Our women's bowling team is very happy to have been invited and accepted into this new conference," commented head bowling coach Dan Mueller. "The Central Intercollegiate Bowling Conference will allow our program to grow and make us a better team. Having the chance to earn an automatic qualifier from this conference to the NCAA championship is a very exciting opportunity for all of us."
Marian announced the addition of a men's and women's bowling program this past October with both programs set to begin competition during the 2019-2020 academic year. The women's bowling team will compete as part of the NCAA, while the men's program will be recognized as a club sport as it is yet to be sponsored by the NCAA.