Missouri Valley Football Conference

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The Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly the Gateway Football Conference) is a college athletic conference which operates in the midwestern United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS; still frequently referred to by its former designation of Division I-AA) as a football-only conference.



The Missouri Valley Football Conference has a convoluted history. The conference was formed from the remnant football schools of the old Missouri Valley when it stopped sponsoring its hybrid I-A/I-AA football league in 1985. At that time, the I-AA members from the MVC (Illinois State, Indiana State, and Southern Illinois) joined Eastern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Southwest Missouri State, and Western Illinois to form the Association of Mid-Continent Universities, later the Mid-Continent Conference and now The Summit League, for sports other than football. The football programs joined with the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference, which at the time was a women's athletic conference that roughly paralleled the MVC.

In 1992, when the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference merged with the MVC, the football conference kept the Gateway charter, with a minor name change to Gateway Football Conference. After Eastern Illinois joined the Ohio Valley Conference for football in 1995, Youngstown State joined in 1997 and was followed by Western Kentucky in 2001. Southwest Missouri State changed its name to Missouri State in 2005. The Gateway changed its name to the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2008.

On November 2, 2006, Western Kentucky's Board of Regents approved a proposal by the school's president to upgrade the football program to the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS; formerly Division I-A). The Hilltoppers left the GFC after the 2006 season, went through the two-year "reclassification" period mandated by the NCAA for schools moving from the FCS to the FBS, and became a football member of its all-sports conference, the Sun Belt Conference, in 2009.[1]

Due to Western Kentucky's move, the Gateway was left with 7 members for the 2007 season. However, Great West Football Conference members North Dakota State and South Dakota State were asked to submit information about themselves and to attend the conference presidents' meeting.[2] On March 7, 2007, the conference announced that both schools would join the conference beginning with the 2008 season.[3]

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