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Finlandia joins new league in football

HANCOCK — Finlandia University has been accepted as an associate football member of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference effective next fall.

The league’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors approved the Lions’ application on Friday.

Finlandia started playing football in 2015 as an NCAA Division III independent, then joined the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association as an affiliate member in 2018.

“I couldn’t be more pleased that we were able to work out this arrangement,” FU athletic director Curtis Wittenberg said. “The UMAC is a great fit for us regionally in terms of travel. In addition, the mission, values and beliefs of the UMAC schools fits in perfectly with us.”

Finlandia’s addition allows the UMAC to maintain an automatic qualifying bid to the Division III championship in football with seven schools playing the sport.

In 2021, each league member will play six league games beginning in Week 5 and will also have a bye week during that part of the schedule.

Before Finlandia’s inclusion, the league included schools mostly in Minnesota, but also included institutions in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. Two non-football playing schools are from Wisconsin.

Football members in 2020-21 — the league has already scheduled a spring season in March and April — are St. Scholastica, Minnesota-Morris, Iowa Wesleyan, Martin Luther, Westminster, Northwestern-St. Paul, Greenville and Crown.

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