FHSU remains committed to RMAC as MIAA ponders decision on replacement school

Fort Hays State University has been mentioned as a possible replacement for the University of Missouri-Rolla in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, but FHSU officials said Thursday that it would be premature to consider such a possibility.

"We're not actively considering a move because we haven't received an invitation," said Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president. "We remain committed to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference."

Dr. Hammond said MIAA presidents met Wednesday to consider a replacement for Missouri-Rolla but adjourned without making a decision. "Their indecision raises a concern because of the timing," he explained. "The delay may indicate a lack of interest. Also, any consideration we would give to leaving the RMAC would require that we give ample notice. There are one-year and two-year options, but either would have to be given before a competitive year begins."

Missouri-Rolla officials notified the MIAA in June that it would resign from the conference at the conclusion of the 2004-05 academic year, its 70th as an MIAA member. That will leave nine universities in the MIAA, all located in the states of Kansas and Missouri: Central Missouri State, Emporia State, Missouri Southern, Missouri Western, Northwest Missouri State, Pittsburg State, Southwest Baptist, Truman State and Washburn. Missouri-Rolla has accepted an invitation to join the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

The University of Nebraska-Omaha and Lincoln University of Missouri both have been mentioned along with FHSU as possible replacements for Missouri-Rolla.

FHSU Athletic Director Curtis Hammeke said he spoke to MIAA Commissioner Ralph McFillen Thursday morning and learned that the decision about a replacement was on hold pending review. Hammeke said the MIAA presidents would reconvene in September to resume deliberations about a replacement school.

"We didn't go looking for this, but we'd give it reasonable consideration if we are asked," Hammeke said. "After visiting with President Hammond, I told Ralph McFillen that we would be happy to provide information or meet with MIAA officials before the September meeting."

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