St. Louis, MO. – The American Midwest Conference (AMC) announced today the addition of Cottey College (Nevada, Missouri) as its 11th member for the 2022-23 academic year.
“We are excited to welcome Cottey College as the American Midwest Conference’s 11th full member and the opportunities their membership provides the student-athletes at all 11 institutions,” AMC Commissioner Will Wolper said. “At all levels, from President Dr. Jann Weitzel and Vice-President of Student-Life Dr. Landon Adams, to Director of Athletics Dr. Maryann Mitts and the athletics staff, to the student-athletes our Site Visit Team had the pleasure of meeting, there is no doubt that Cottey College is a perfect fit for the AMC and that they will be a valuable partner. From my perspective, August 1, 2022, cannot get here fast enough.”
Cottey, an all-women’s institution with over 300 students, will compete in the AMC in basketball, cross country, golf, softball, track and field, and volleyball. The Comets also sponsor JV softball, esports, one of the inaugural NAIA flag football teams and will add a JV basketball program in 2022.
Cottey joined the NAIA and the Continental Athletic Conference (CAC, formerly the Association of Independent Institutions) in 2019-20, having previously competed as a two-year athletics program in the NJCAA.
“The AMC is proud and happy to welcome Cottey College into our conference membership,” Stephens College President Dr. Dianne Lynch, past chair of the AMC Council of Presidents (COP) who represented the COP on the Cottey Site Visit Team, said. “Cottey has exhibited the commitment to quality competition, investment in collegiate athletics, and support for each student’s athletic experience that are the hallmarks of the AMC. I am certain Cottey will be a valued and contributing member of the Conference.”
The Comets have seen success in their short time as NAIA members. Two weeks ago, its cross country team won the CAC Championship to qualify for the NAIA National Championships this weekend in Vancouver, Wash., two years after having three individual runners qualify for Nationals. Both the volleyball and softball teams advanced to the NAIA Opening Round during the 2020-21 academic year. In the last two years, the Cottey volleyball team has had two top-four finishes in the CAC, including winning the Conference tournament title in 2020.
Individual athletes have seen success for Cottey as well. During the 2020-21 academic year, three Cottey volleyball players received All-Region honors, four softball players received All-Region honors, including one recognized as an NFCA All-American.
Since joining the Continental Athletic Conference, Cottey athletes have earned six All-Conference honors in cross country plus the 2021 CAC Outstanding Runner. Last season, seven volleyball All-Conference honors plus the CAC Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, and in its only full softball season (2021), had six All-Conference selections.
Off the field of play, Cottey has been an NAIA Champions of Character® Five-Star Gold institution both years they were eligible for the honor. Twenty-nine Cottey student-athletes earned A.I.I. Academic All-Conference last year, and softball player Rayne Wright was named to the 2020 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.
“Our brand and athletic programs align well with other AMC Institutions,” Dr. Jann Weitzel, president of Cottey College, said. “The mission of the Cottey College athletic department is to provide student-athletes with a quality educational and athletic experience through a commitment to integrity, hard work, loyalty and dedication. Cottey athletics provides a unique opportunity to teach teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership, and personal accountability in all endeavors. These attributes empower students to develop capabilities that can be carried into the workforce and also support the mission of the College to develop students’ personal and professional lives as learners, leaders and citizens.
“We have a great deal of respect for the AMC and believe that the stability and excellence of the conference will provide our athletes with both challenges and successes to move Cottey athletics forward academically and athletically,” added Dr. Weitzel.
Cottey offers 14 majors and 18 minors, has students from 34 states and 17 countries. The institution is owned and supported by the Philanthropic Education Organization (P.E.O.), a 152-year-old organization dedicated to women’s education. Cottey College offers all students a one-time expense paid international experience during their time on campus.
“We are thrilled to have been accepted as the newest member of the AMC,” Dr. Maryann Mitts, athletics director and head basketball coach at Cottey College, said. “This partnership will not only afford Cottey athletics the opportunity to compete at a high level athletically but will also bring consistency in game scheduling and more realistic travel expectations. Our student-athletes and coaches will garner deserved notoriety with this affiliation which in turn will help attract top student-athletes to Cottey College.
“I would like to thank AMC Commissioner Will Wolper, the Council of Presidents, and the AMC Athletic Directors for their support during this process. We are looking forward to becoming a full member in August 2022.
“We have enjoyed and appreciated our membership with the Continental Athletic Conference (CAC) since joining the NAIA. We are so thankful for the role the CAC plays in providing a platform for independent institutions in the NAIA to excel and succeed.”
The American Midwest Conference (AMC), a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), has ten full members in Arkansas and Missouri, expanding to 11 in 2022-23, and two single-sport members in Illinois. Formed in 1986 as the Show-Me Collegiate Conference, the AMC sponsors championships in 16 sports and emphasizes the NAIA Champions of Character® Initiative and its five core values – integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.