Mount Mercy University is a long-time member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The NAIA currently has 65,000 student-athletes participating at more than 250 member colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada while offering 25 national championships and over $500 million in athletic scholarships. Click here for more information about the NAIA.
Beginning in 2016-17, Mount Mercy became part of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (the Heart). Founded in 1971, the Heart includes 14 institutions from Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. Three schools have been members of the league since its inception: Baker University (Baldwin City, Kan.), Graceland University (Lamoni, Iowa) and Missouri Valley College (Marshall, Mo.).
Other Heart insititutions include Avila University (Kansas City, Mo.), Benedictine College (Atchison, Kan.), Central Methodist University (Fayette, Mo.), Clarke University (Dubuque, Iowa), Culver-Stockton College (Canton, Mo.), Evangel University (Springfield, Mo.), Grand View University (Des Moines, Iowa), MidAmerica Nazarene University (Olathe, Kan.), Peru State College (Peru, Neb.) and William Penn University (Oskaloosa, Iowa). Click here for more information about the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
Prior to full membership in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, Mount Mercy spent one year as a member of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) for all sports except cross country, golf and track & field, which competed in the Heart during the 2015-16 academic year. For the previous 27 years, the Mustangs were part of the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC).
Originally the Midwest Catholic Conference, the league began as a basketball conference prior to the 1988-89 season. By the time the 1988 school year began, women's volleyball and men's soccer were also recognized as conference sports, providing the league with two male and two female sports. The six original members were Clarke College (Iowa), Edgewood College (Wis.), Marycrest University (Iowa), Mount Mercy College (Iowa), Mount St. Clare College (Iowa) and Viterbo College (Wis.).
In 1989, Grand View College (Iowa) replaced Edgewood and the league changed its name to the Midwest Classic Conference. The St. Ambrose University (Iowa) men's basketball program joined the conference in 1990, while the rest of the university's sports followed suit a year later. Iowa Wesleyan College came on board in 1995, giving the MCC eight members.
However, a year later Clarke dropped out to join the NCAA Division III Northern Illinois and Iowa Conference. In 2001, William Penn University (Iowa) was added to the league, but again an eight-team conference was short-lived when Marycrest shut its doors at the end of the 2001-02 season.
It became the Midwest Collegiate Conference in 2007 and was a nine-team league that included Clarke (which rejoined the conference in 2007), Mount Mercy, Viterbo and Ashford University (formerly The Franciscan University or Mount St. Clare), Grand View, Iowa Wesleyan, St. Ambrose, William Penn and Waldorf College (Iowa) (which was added to the league prior to the 2003-04 season).
With the loss of Ashford and Waldorf after the 2011-12 campaign, the MCC was a seven-team league for three years until the conference disbanded at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.