American Football Wiki

The Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly the Gateway Football Conference) is a college athletic conference which operates in the midwestern United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS; still frequently referred to by its former designation of Division I-AA) as a football-only conference.


Team Location Stadium
Illinois State Redbirds Normal, Illinois Hancock Stadium
Indiana State Sycamores Terre Haute, Indiana Memorial Stadium
Missouri State Bears Springfield, Missouri Plaster Sports Complex
North Dakota State Bison Fargo, North Dakota Fargodome
Northern Iowa Panthers Cedar Falls, Iowa UNI-Dome
South Dakota Coyotes Vermillion, South Dakota DakotaDome
South Dakota State Jackrabbits Brookings, South Dakota Coughlin-Alumni Stadium
Southern Illinois Salukis Carbondale, Illinois Saluki Stadium
Western Illinois Leathernecks Macomb, Illinois Hanson Field
Youngstown State Penguins Youngstown, Ohio Stambaugh Stadium



The Missouri Valley Football Conference has a convoluted history. The conference was formed from the remnant football schools of the old Missouri Valley when it stopped sponsoring its hybrid I-A/I-AA football league in 1985. At that time, the I-AA members from the MVC (Illinois State, Indiana State, and Southern Illinois) joined Eastern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Southwest Missouri State, and Western Illinois to form the Association of Mid-Continent Universities, later the Mid-Continent Conference and now The Summit League, for sports other than football. The football programs joined with the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference, which at the time was a women's athletic conference that roughly paralleled the MVC.

In 1992, when the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference merged with the MVC, the football conference kept the Gateway charter, with a minor name change to Gateway Football Conference. After Eastern Illinois joined the Ohio Valley Conference for football in 1995, Youngstown State joined in 1997 and was followed by Western Kentucky in 2001. Southwest Missouri State changed its name to Missouri State in 2005. The Gateway changed its name to the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2008.

On November 2, 2006, Western Kentucky's Board of Regents approved a proposal by the school's president to upgrade the football program to the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS; formerly Division I-A). The Hilltoppers left the GFC after the 2006 season, went through the two-year "reclassification" period mandated by the NCAA for schools moving from the FCS to the FBS, and became a football member of its all-sports conference, the Sun Belt Conference, in 2009.[1]

Due to Western Kentucky's move, the Gateway was left with 7 members for the 2007 season. However, Great West Football Conference members North Dakota State and South Dakota State were asked to submit information about themselves and to attend the conference presidents' meeting.[2] On March 7, 2007, the conference announced that both schools would join the conference beginning with the 2008 season.[3]

On June 6, 2008, the Gateway Football Conference changed its name to the Missouri Valley Football Conference, effective immediately. This change aligns the conference with the Missouri Valley Conference, a conference in which five of the nine Missouri Valley Football schools participate. The conferences will share the "Missouri Valley" name but will remain separate administratively.[4]


Institution Location Founded Affiliation Enrollment Joined Nickname Primary Conference
Illinois State University Normal, Illinois 1857 Public 20,757 1985 Redbirds Missouri Valley Conference
Indiana State University Terre Haute, Indiana 1865 Public 10,760 1986 Sycamores Missouri Valley Conference
Missouri State University Springfield, Missouri 1905 Public 22,785 1985 Bears Missouri Valley Conference
North Dakota State University Fargo, North Dakota 1890 Public 14,186 2008 Bison The Summit League
University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa 1876 Public 14,070 1985 Panthers Missouri Valley Conference
South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota 1881 Public 12,376 2008 Jackrabbits The Summit League
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois 1869 Public 19,800 1985 Salukis Missouri Valley Conference
Western Illinois University Macomb, Illinois 1899 Public 13,600 1985 Leathernecks The Summit League
Youngstown State University Youngstown, Ohio 1908 Public 13,183 1997 Penguins Horizon League

Locations of current Missouri Valley Football Conference member institutions.=== Former members===

  • Eastern Illinois University (Ohio Valley Conference), 1985–1995
  • Western Kentucky University (Sun Belt Conference), 2001–2006


  • 1985: Northern Iowa
  • 1986: Eastern Illinois
  • 1987: Northern Iowa
  • 1988: Western Illinois
  • 1989: Missouri State
  • 1990: Missouri State & Northern Iowa
  • 1991: Northern Iowa
  • 1992: Northern Iowa
  • 1993: Northern Iowa
  • 1994: Northern Iowa
  • 1995: Eastern Illinois & Northern Iowa
  • 1996: Northern Iowa
  • 1997: Western Illinois
  • 1998: Western Illinois
  • 1999: Illinois State
  • 2000: Western Illinois
  • 2001: Northern Iowa
  • 2002: Western Illinois & Western Kentucky
  • 2003: Northern Iowa & Southern Illinois
  • 2004: Southern Illinois
  • 2005: Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, & Youngstown State
  • 2006: Youngstown State
  • 2007: Northern Iowa
  • 2008: Southern Illinois & Northern Iowa
  • 2009: Southern Illinois

Conference titles by school

School Championships Championship Years
Northern Iowa 14 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008
Southern Illinois 5 2003. 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009
Western Illinois 5 1988, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002
Missouri State 2 1989, 1990
Eastern Illinois 2 1986, 1995
Youngstown State 2 2005, 2006
Illinois State 1 1999
Western Kentucky 1 2002
Indiana State 0 N/A
North Dakota State 0 N/A
South Dakota State 0 N/A

Conference facilities

School Football Stadium Capacity
Illinois State Hancock Stadium 15,000
Indiana State Memorial Stadium 12,764
Missouri State Plaster Sports Complex 16,300
North Dakota State Fargodome 19,500
Northern Iowa UNI-Dome 17,000
South Dakota State Coughlin–Alumni Stadium 15,000
Southern Illinois McAndrew Stadium 17,000
Western Illinois Hanson Field 16,368
Youngstown State Stambaugh Stadium 20,630