My "news" is hardly news anymore (the conference announced this in January). In addition to Finlandia, the Great South added Mills College in California. They also added the women's athletic programs at Maine-Presque Isle. The Finlandia and M-PI men's sports will stay independent. http://www.greatsouth.org/sports/wbkb/2 ... s/01142013
For those keeping score, in 2013-14, the GSAC will stretch from Georgia north to Maine, and west to Michigan and California. All that travel on Division 3 budgets. But, they will keep their automatic bids.
I've heard their will be no required conference play for schools so Finlandia won't be making trips to Maine, California, and Georgia. The only time they will be required to play conference foes is for the conference tournament to determine the automatic bid. Not an ideal set-up but for Finlandia it is a good move. It looked like they were never going to get in a conference. I think the closest D-III school to them is 150 miles away. No conference wanted them, especially with having to take road trips in the winter to the top of the U.P.
I believe Maine-Presque Isle has the same geographic limitations. Mills College in Oakland, CA is similarly geographically isolated from other D-III schools with the closest D-III opponent being over 300 miles away.