Heading into the 2012, one of the topics I was planning on writing about a bit in the preseason was the expansion of the league to 16 teams. I had even written most of my piece talking about the addition of full members Walsh and Malone, the departure of Indianapolis, Notre Dame College stepping in as an associate, etc. And then, the Mountain East happened...more on that in a bit.

I suppose to a certain extent, my piece hasn't changed that much. As of right now, Walsh and Malone have joined as full league members. While they are new to the NCAA, both football programs have been around for a while and have some story to them. Walsh, for example, is entering its 18th season of football and all of those campaigns have been piloted by head coach Jim Dennison. The Cavaliers have won at a .627 clip, so the concept of winning games isn't new to them. How they will fare against a decided step up in competition will play out on the field. Walsh resides on the north end of Canton, OH, and just a handful of miles to the south (literally the other side of town) is Malone. The Pioneers are entering season 20 of their football existence, and while the .480 win clip isn't overwhelming they feel they can step in and compete...they did knock off Tiffin last year, so they have defeated a GLIAC opponent recently.

Both schools are smaller and making the transition from NAIA competition. I have had the question posted to me repeatedly as to "why the GLIAC wants to keep adding these small schools"?

Followers of the GLIAC also know that full member Lake Superior State doesn't have football, and the league has typically had an associate member for football to fill that void. Indianapolis was a GLIAC/MIFC member for football for more than 20 years, and filled the role of "Lake State" in the schedule very nicely. However, their home/primary conference is the GLVC, and that league finally was able to bolster its roster to the size needed to be a recognized NCAA football conference and Indy rolled with that for its future. That was hardly a surprise, nor could anyone blame the Greyhounds for making that move.

So, it appears that the shuffling and jumbling the GLIAC did since the close of the 2011 football season has essentially been "undone" already. OK, I'll temper that a bit as Walsh and Malone don't appear to be going anywhere. Since those two are full members of the league, the bulk of the GLIAC's sports and their related schedules will go unaffected heading into 2013-2014. However, since Lake State doesn't seem to be close to adding a football program any time soon so we still need an associate member to even out the number of football-playing clubs. The void left by Indianapolis moving its football into the expanded GLVC was to be filled by Notre Dame College. However, almost as soon as the Falcons were in...they are now out, opting to move to the newly formed Mountain East Athletic Conference. They'll be piling in with the bulk of the defectors from the WVIAC (along with a couple of other folks), and the new league will start play next year. So, NDC will play out the 2012-2013 year and then bolt. One can theorize a multitude of reasons why they are making this move, but I won't venture to make any such guesses. Frankly, it doesn't matter at this point and the league is going to have to try and figure out what they intend to to about it. One potential solution might be a cooperation with the GLVC, as Urbana is bailing on them for the same destination as NDC, thereby leaving a similar set of holes in the GLVC's slate. The GLVC is on a similar two-year schedule cycle, so it does seem like a nice fit to simply have whoever was supposed to play Urbana take on the GLIAC team slated to have NDC that week. It's not foolproof as the GLVC's conference schedule isn't ten full games, but it would go a long way toward filling most of the holes. It will be interesting to see if the two leagues can make the logistics come together. Outside of that, I'm not totally sure what options the GLIAC could have, other than simply having the schools try and fill those open weeks (if they even want to) for next year.

I've seen and heard a lot of theories and ideas related to the league's roster and the changes. Some have referenced the intent of becoming a "super-conference". Others have alluded to the notion of a desired set-up of having a "Michigan Division and an Ohio Division". All of those are fun, but the reality simply revolves around the league wanting to preserve itself. Some suggest that rationale is silly, but the constant changes of conferences around the country are proof-positive that the GLIAC is on the right track. Look, just a few short years ago the NCC was one of the oldest and best-established leagues in the country. Now, it's a fading memory as its membership left for various destinations (the NSIC, the MIAA, D-I, etc.). Similar activity now has the fate of the Gulf South (another venerable D2 league) hanging in the balance, and the WVIAC also teters on the brink of demise. The GLIAC wanted to protect itself from a similar fate, and their actions seem to be working toward that end. Yes, it certainly creates the feel of always being "in flux", but if the league is big enough it can withstand some blows such as what NDC is doing. It's inconvenient, but it's hardly a death-blow.

Look, I certainly don't know what the future of D2 holds. Some of this activity might slow down,