Small College Sports

Iowa Conference changes name to American Rivers Conference

American Rivers Conference
American Rivers Conference

After 91 years, the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference decided it was time for a rebrand.

The NCAA Division III league announced Thursday in Dubuque it’s changing its name to the American Rivers Conference.

The conference expanded outside the state of Iowa for the first time in 2016 when Nebraska Wesleyan came aboard and, according to a release, discussions about changing the name began then with the conference’s Presidents Council.


Buena Vista, Central, Coe, Dubuque, Loras, Luther, Simpson and Wartburg are the other members of what is now the American Rivers Conference.


“I am honored, on behalf of the Presidents Council, to bring this new identity to the conference’s community of student-athletes, coaches, administrators, alumni and fans,” conference commissioner Chuck Yrigoyen said in a release. “This announcement caps off months of careful thought by scores of people on our campuses.”

The conference said its new name draws on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers bordering Iowa. It noted some of its schools have almost 70 percent of their athletes from out of state.

Skye Design Studios designed the new logos.

“Boldly asserting ‘American’ shows that our rosters and general student bodies already include young people from all over the country and will continue to do so,” Yrigoyen said.

The league was founded on Dec. 8, 1922 as the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Association and included charter members Buena Vista, Central, Luther and Simpson, as well as Ellsworth, Iowa Wesleyan, Morningside, Parsons, St. Ambrose, Upper Iowa Western Union and William Penn. Des Moines University was also voted in.. The name was slightly altered to the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1927 and remained in place until Thursday.

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Loras first joined in 1926, was dropped in 1954 and returned in 1986. Dubuque has been in since 1929, Wartburg 1937 and Coe 1997.

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