Apache Baseball excluded from MAC

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX - In the a recently updated version of the Metro Athletic Conference bylaws presented to Tyler Junior College Athletic Director, Tim Drain at the NJCAA National Meetings in Rhode Island last week, the Apache Baseball program was notified that 2009 would be their last season to compete as a member of the Metro Athletic Conference. Joe Tubb, Regional Director for NJCAA Region 5, the region in which the MAC competes, presented the new MAC by-laws to Drain.

"I respect the authority that the MAC has to make such a move, but to say I am disappointed that we'll be excluded from MAC play after this season, is an understatement," said TJC Head Baseball Coach,  Jon Groth. "Since we were accepted into the MAC, it has seen unprecedented National attention...routinely placing two or three teams in the polls in each of the seasons the Apaches have competed..."

The new bylaws state that, "All sports offered by a college wishing to participate with the MAC must play at the Division III level in all their sports." This statement within the bylaws represents a new policy adopted by MAC officials and became effective April 1, 2009, according to the documentation presented to Dr. Drain.

Tyler Junior College has 11 athletic teams, some of which are NJCAA Division I and can offer full scholarships, some of which are NJCAA Division II and can offer tuition and fees scholarships and baseball, which is the only non-scholarship - Division III sport at TJC.

The move by the MAC will mean that TJC will now have to compete as an independent, NJCAA Division III program in Region 14, just as it did in 2003 and 2004, its first two years as a Division III, non-scholarship program.

"I am disappointed on many levels with the news regarding the new MAC by-laws," said TJC Athletic Director, Tim Drain. "I know Coach Groth invested many personal hours on MAC projects, and I believe was a great asset to the conference, and, I know our team enjoyed competing against the MAC schools. However, I have deep faith in Coach Groth to guide us as an independent program, with the goal remaining of hoisting the D3 Championship Trophy again at Mike Carter Field."

After winning a National Championship in 2007, and back to back MAC Championships in 2007 and 2008, the Apaches strung together a streak of winning 17 straight MAC series covering much of the 2008 and 2009 season.

There is an proposal on the table, offered by the MAC, that changes the path the NJCAA Independent Apaches would take to qualify for the NJCAA District C playoffs and NJCAA World Series, hosted at Tyler's historic Mike Carter Field. That proposal has not been signed and alternate proposals are likely to be submitted. So at present, the path to postseason as an NJCAA Independent for TJC  is still unknown. Currently, the top three teams from the MAC earn bids to the NJCAA District C playoffs and a fourth spot is occupied by North Arkansas, from NJCAA Region 2.