HAMMOND, IN. – The Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) and Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) have partnered with the city of Hobart, Indiana, and the Indiana South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority to form the America’s Crossroads Bowl, it was announced in a joint press conference Tuesday, April 9 at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.
The inaugural postseason football game between the two NCAA Division II leagues will take place December 7, 2019, at Brickyard Stadium on the campus of School City of Hobart. Kickoff will be 1 p.m. CT.
The highest-ranking team in league standings not participating in the NCAA Division II playoff will earn its respective conference’s bowl bid. The America’s Crossroads Bowl will represent the fifth bowl game played at the NCAA Division II level, officially joining the Mineral Water Bowl, Heart of Texas Bowl, Live United Bowl and Corsicana Bowl.
In attendance for Tuesday’s bowl game announcement was Mayor Brian Snedecor of the city of Hobart, Spero Batistatos, President and Chief Executive Officer of the South Shore CVA, GLVC Commissioner Jim Naumovich, and G-MAC Commissioner Tom Daeger.
“We are excited to host two Division II collegiate teams at Hobart’s Brickyard Stadium this winter,” said Snedecor. “America’s Crossroads Bowl will be the first of its kind held in Indiana.”
Batistatos shared Mayor Snedecor’s excitement, “The South Shore continues to be recognized as a top-tier destination for amateur and professional athletes to compete,” he said. “Adding a premier football Division II Bowl is a wonderful opportunity.”
The creation of a bowl game has long been a desire of the GLVC – a league founded in 1978, although it did not begin sponsoring football until 2012. Since then, the GLVC has sent a team to the NCAA Division II Playoffs in six of the last seven years. This past season, the University of Indianapolis earned a postseason bid to the NCAA DII Playoffs, while Missouri S&T celebrated its first postseason contest since 1950 with a 51-16 victory over Minnesota State Moorhead in the Mineral Water Bowl.
“Today’s announcement is a culmination of efforts to expand the postseason opportunities for our football student-athletes,” said Naumovich. “We have been discussing with our coaches for the past four years the possibility of creating a bowl game affiliation for a GLVC team, with the primary goal of enhancing the student-athlete championship experience. We believe the affiliation with the G-MAC and the wonderful support from the South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority and the city of Hobart will play a significant role in making this a memorable and successful event for all involved.”
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The 2018 season marked the third year of football as a championship sport offered in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. During that brief time, the Great Midwest has recognized three different champions and has seen two different programs qualify for the NCAA Championship. After starting out with three playing members in 2016, five new schools joined the mix in 2017 and nine programs were in the conference standings this past season. The conference will feature eight member institutions for the 2019 standings as a member of NCAA Division II Super Region 1.
“We are thankful for the tremendous opportunity to participate in the inaugural America’s Crossroads Bowl,” said Daeger. “The South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority and city of Hobart have embraced this partnership from initial introduction of the concept, and we are appreciative of the vision, energy, and resources invested to provide an outstanding postseason opportunity for the student-athletes from our respective teams.”
Student-athletes from the two participating teams will enjoy a three-day stay in the South Shore and participate in several community engagement activities.
The inaugural bowl game will also coincide with National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and service members and first responders will be honored at the event.