The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) will expand further south one year from now with Lincoln College joining as the 16th member of the league.  The conference office made the announcement after Lincoln was accepted into the league by a vote of the CCAC Executive Council at its annual fall meeting.  The Lincoln, Ill.-based school is expected to start league play in a majority of conference-sponsored sports beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.

Lincoln, which transitioned from a two-year college to a four-year institution of higher learning in 2018, was accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) at its 2018 Convention and started competing as an NAIA independent last fall.  The Lynx sponsor 21 sports, including CCAC-sponsored sports baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s track & field and men’s and women’s volleyball.

“The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference is excited to add our 16th school in Lincoln College,” said CCAC Commissioner Jeff Schimmelpfennig.  “Lincoln brings the excitement of a new NAIA athletic program along with the deep history of a successful intercollegiate athletics department.

“This is another example of the CCAC being a national leader in growth, while having one of the smallest footprints of NAIA conferences.   A strength of the CCAC is in the diversity of our members and adding Lincoln College continues to show our commitment to the NAIA’s growth agenda.”

Lincoln’s addition will allow the league to maintain its status as one of the largest conferences in the NAIA.

“Lincoln College is proud to join the CCAC as the conference for NAIA athletics,” stated Lincoln College President Dr. Dave Gerlach.  “Founded 155 years ago, Lincoln College athletics have played a critical role in our esteemed history whether it was as a founding member of the Illinois Little 19 when we last participated in four-year athletics, or during our storied tenure in the NJCAA.

“This transition is a natural part of our evolution back to our founding roots as Lincoln University.”

The majority of the conference resides in the Chicagoland area with the likes of Judson University (Elgin, Ill.), Olivet Nazarene University (Bourbonnais, Ill.), Robert Morris University Illinois (Chicago), Roosevelt University (Chicago), Saint Xavier University (Chicago), University of St. Francis (Joliet, Ill.), Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, Ill.) and Trinity International University (Deerfield, Ill.).  Representing the state of Indiana are Calumet College of St. Joseph (Whiting), Holy Cross College (Notre Dame), Indiana University Northwest (Gary) and Indiana University South Bend.  Milwaukee, Wis. is home to Cardinal Stritch University, while St. Ambrose University (Davenport, Iowa) became the first school to represent the conference from Iowa when it joined the league at the start of the 2015-16 academic year.

The CCAC sponsors the sports of baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field and men’s and women’s volleyball.

“We are excited to become a part of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference as we continue new athletic traditions in the NAIA,” said Lincoln director of athletics Mark Perdue.  “By joining the CCAC, it allows our student-athletes to experience top-notch competition without having to travel great distances with most of the schools in the conference being within a three-hour drive.

“As a new member of the NAIA, the CCAC was a natural fit for Lincoln College in terms of travel and building competitive rivalries.”

The groundwork for the CCAC stemmed from a meeting of baseball coaches in the fall of 1949. Attending that meeting was Kyle Anderson of the University of Chicago, Ed Glancy of Illinois Institute of Technology, George Boyle of Chicago Teachers College (now Northeastern Illinois University) and Les Miller of the University of Illinois-Chicago Navy Pier. Concordia College joined the group and the first sporting event was a baseball tournament on Memorial Day weekend of 1950 at the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field.

The men’s basketball coaches met in February of 1972 to form their conference sport that started with the 1973-74 season. The original basketball members were Illinois Institute of Technology, Saint Xavier College, Northeastern Illinois University, University of Illinois-Chicago Circle, Purdue University Calumet, Trinity Christian College and College of St. Francis. The conference also added cross country and tennis in the mid-1970’s and women’s sports in the early 1980’s.

Lincoln College will become the 33rd school to hold membership in the league since its inception when the Lynx join the conference next fall.