With the MIAA downsizing from 15 to 14 teams because of Truman State's departure, the conference has had to revamp some of its schedules for next year and beyond.
That lengthy process was completed less than a month ago when the conference's new baseball scheduling format was agreed upon.
MIAA schedules in men's and women's basketball, volleyball, women's soccer and baseball are structured differently than a year ago when the league had 15 teams.
Changes to the football schedules won't take affect until the 2014 season.
In baseball, every MIAA team will play 10 four-game weekend series for a total of 40 league games—six less than the year before. Each four-game series will begin and end with a nine-inning game. The middle two games will both last seven innings and be played on the same day.
Under the new format, which is based on the model created by the Southeastern Conference (SEC) last year, each MIAA team has three other teams they won't face.
For example, Northwest Missouri State does not play, Lindenwood, Northeastern State and Central Oklahoma, all of which finished ahead of the Bearcats in the MIAA standings last year.
The non-scheduled opponents were determined by geographical proximity, according to MIAA Commissioner Bob Boerigter.
The MIAA considered a format where every team played one another—like in year's past—but that would've required an earlier start to conference play.
After the miserable weather that caused numerous cancellations last spring, the MIAA coaches decided it was wiser to wait another week. The first weekend of conference play in 2014 is Feb. 21-23.
"We didn't have a good spring last spring and that was fresh on everybody's mind," said Boerigter. "Most of the coaches wanted to start the conference schedule a little bit later to give us a chance for better weather. That's what we're doing."
The format for the MIAA Baseball Tournament remains the same as a year ago, only now it's slightly easier to get in with one less team to compete against.
The top eight teams qualify for a best-of-three-series at the top seed's home field and the winner moves on to the final four in Kansas City.
As for men's and women's basketball, the MIAA is switching from a pod system—used last year—to a divisional format.
Each division contains seven teams and was formed based on geography. Neither one has a specific name. Divisional opponents play each other twice, while non-division opponents face off once for a total of 19 league games—one more than last year.
Northwest is in the same division with Missouri Western, Central Missouri, Southwest Baptist, Lincoln, Lindenwood and Missouri Southern.
Page 2 of 3 - The other division contains, Central Oklahoma, Northeastern State, Pittsburg State, Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Washburn and Nebraska-Kearney.
It's status quo on the MIAA Basketball Tournament, with the top four teams receiving a bye to the quarterfinals in Kansas City. The 5-12 seeds have to win a play-in game in order to advance. Only two teams will be left out of the play-in round this year.
Divisions are also being used in volleyball, although they aren't the same as basketball since only 12 MIAA schools participate in the sport.
Each team plays 16 conference matches, which includes home-and-home's with five selected opponents.
Northwest faces Central Missouri, Southwest Baptist, Missouri Southern, Missouri Western and Lindenwood twice and everyone else once.
The top eight teams qualify for the MIAA Tournament Nov. 19-23. There will not be an MIAA volleyball post-season tournament in 2014 because it's an NCAA Festival year.
As a result, the conference will switch to a double round-robin regular season scheduling format.
In women's soccer, next year's conference schedule was created using a modified round-robin approach.
Each team plays 11 league matches with two home-and-home's.
Northwest plays Central Missouri and Missouri Western twice and the remaining MIAA schools once. The top eight teams make the post-season tournament.
MIAA softball teams will play a 26-game league schedule, with doubleheaders against every other league opponent. It's the same format as last year, just two less league games.
The football schedule is on a two-year cycle that ends with the 2013 season. Some teams have nine MIAA games in 2013, while others, like Northwest, have 10.
Starting in 2014, it will be uniform again, with each team playing 11 conference games.
That means no more non-conference games in the regular season.
Every team plays the same opponents in 2014 and 2015, only the locations flip.
Northwest opens its 2014 and 2015 seasons against Nebraska-Kearney. It plays Missouri Western in October and concludes the season with Northeastern State.
The two teams Northwest does not play in either year are Pittsburg State and Missouri Southern.
Northwest and Pitt have met on an annual basis at Arrowhead Stadium since 2002, but that game will be put on hold until 2016 when the next two-year cycle starts.
All of these schedules are subject to change in 2014 if the MIAA were to add or lose another team before then.
Boerigter doesn't anticipate either one happening.
"It looks like we're going to be at 14 for a little while unless something happens that's a surprise," said Boerigter. "Another institution would have to express interest within our geographical parameters, and we've already explored all of those. Right now, we're going to be at 14 for a few years."
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