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Hardrockers join the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference

SD School of Mines Hardrockers
SD School of Mines Hardrockers

RAPID CITY, S.D.  (KWSN-AM) --The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology announced today it has been accepted as a full member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC).

 An invitation was extended to the university this past Friday during an RMAC presidents’ meeting at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) National Convention in San Diego after several months of behind-the-scenes discussions and a presentation by Mines President Heather Wilson in San Diego, Calif.

“The RMAC is the natural fit for Mines and opens great opportunities for our athletes to compete in a regular schedule against traditional rivals in our region, and it’ll be a joy to host these regional opponents in our great community,” Wilson said.

The RMAC currently competes in 22 NCAA Div. II sports and has earned 51 NCAA championships and 42 national runners-up since 1992. Founded in 1909, the RMAC is the most historic conference in the western United States.

“This is a great day for Hardrocker Athletics,” Interim Athletics Director Tiffany McCampbell said. “The RMAC is a premier NCAA Div. II league, and I’m so happy the Hardrockers are able to be a part of it.”

South Dakota School of Mines is currently in its first year as a full member of NCAA Div. II athletic competition.

“The RMAC is pleased that the South Dakota School of Mines has accepted our invitation to join the conference,” said RMAC Presidents’ Council Chairman Stephen Jordan on Saturday. “(South Dakota) Mines is a great fit academically and athletically with the fourteen members of NCAA Division II’s most historic athletic conference.”

In October, when Mines announced it was delaying the search for a new Athletics Director, President Wilson moved forward quietly in her efforts to find a conference home for the Hardrockers. Wilson, McCampbell, and volunteer Tom Mahon secured an invitation to discussions with the RMAC in November. Wilson traveled to Denver to meet with RMAC counterparts and personally engaged the RMAC presidents. SD Mines submitted a formal written application in early January.

“A lot of people have worked very hard for over four years to get us to this day, and I very much appreciate it,” Wilson said.

The Hardrockers are currently competing as an independent in all sports except men’s soccer and football, which have affiliation agreements with the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) that cover one more season for soccer and two more seasons for football. While the timing for scheduling purposes is still under discussion, all of Hardrocker sports will join the RMAC.

“This means less time on the road away from class, more home games for Rapid City fans, post season play for conference championships against historic rivals, and yet another reason for scholar athletes to come to Mines,” Wilson said.

Other members of the RMAC are:  Adams State University (Alamosa, Colo.); Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D.);Chadron State (Chadron, Neb.);Colorado Christian University (Denver, Colo.); Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.);Colorado School of Mines (Golden, Colo.);Colorado State University-Pueblo (Pueblo, Colo.); Fort Lewis College (Durango, Colo.);Metropolitan State University of Denver (Denver, Colo.); New Mexico Highlands University (Las Vegas, N.M.);Regis University (Denver, Colo.);University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs, Colo.); Western New Mexico University (Silver City, N.M.); Western State Colorado University (Gunnison, Colo.).