Eric Moyer, Associate Commissioner for Communications
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Following a meeting of the Great American Conference’s university Presidents, the league announced the Baseball Championships will return to David Allen Ballpark in Enid, Oklahoma, beginning in 2018, and the format will return to a six-team double-elimination format.
David Allen Ballpark hosted the GAC Championships from 2012 through 2015. For the past two seasons, the league has utilized an eight-team, two-weekend format with Henderson State’s Clyde Berry Field acting as the venue for the final four participants.
“We are thrilled to be returning the David Allen Ballpark,” GAC Commissioner Will Prewitt said. “The staff and the venue has provided an exceptional championship experience for our student-athletes and we look forward to once again closing our championship season in Enid, Oklahoma. Additionally, we want to thank the administration at Henderson State for serving as our Championship host over the past two seasons.”
The Presidents also moved forward with two scheduling practices for football. First, Effective immediately, cross-state games will start no later than 6 p.m. in August and September and 2 p.m. in October and November.
Second, the GAC has aligned itself with the Sport Science Institute’s Year Round Football Practice Contact Recommendations. The GAC will require institutions use the NCAA-recommended “Day Off” formula during preseason practice. Following the Five Day Acclimatization period, a team must take one day off in the next seven days. This means that from Day Six to Day 12, one day must be given “off” from any physical activity. From Day 13 to Day 19 another “off” day must be given. A “Day Off” may include film sessions and team meetings. No physical activity is permitted on the “day off”.
“I’m gratified that our administrators and CEO’s have followed the Sports Science Institute’s recommendations for a day off during pre-season practice,” Prewitt said. “Student-athlete health and safety is always a priority for our leadership. Proper recovery is at the forefront of the SSI’s research, so the opportunity for GAC football student-athletes to have days off during pre-season practice will be a positive.”
In basketball the committee approved schedules for the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 championship seasons as well as implementation of a replay system, effective for the 2018-19 season. It will require a minimum of a one-camera monitor capability for official reviews. Currently, GAC schools may use monitors for official reviews by institutional choice.
Lastly, the group unanimously reaffirmed its philosophy regarding membership composition.
“It’s a testament to what our membership has accomplished over the past six years that multiple schools across our geographic footprint have expressed interest in the GAC,” Prewitt said. “However, it is in the best interest at this time to remain a 12-school league with specific sport sponsorship requirements. The 12-school membership structure was the conference’s long-term goal when formed in 2010 and our leadership continues to believe that it is optimal for scheduling, championship opportunities, and retaining the cooperative spirit that exists within the GAC.”
“Higher education and collegiate athletics are in a constant state of change and the GAC will continue to examine opportunities that could make our league stronger,” Prewitt added. “However, we believe that the GAC is best served for immediate future with our existing membership format.”