Original members of the HCAC included Anderson, Bluffton, Franklin, Hanover, Manchester, Mount St. Joseph, Wabash, and Wilmington. Of the ten current members, six were founding members of the former ICAC.
Former members include DePauw (1987-1998), Taylor (1988-1991), Wabash (1987-1999), and Wilmington (1998-2000). Rose–Hulman Institute of Technology (1988-1998) re-joined as of July 1, 2006.
The Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference (ICAC) was formed in June 1987, with 1990–91 being the first full season of competition (all eight teams competing in eight varsity sports).
Charter members in 1987 included Anderson University, DePauw University, Franklin College, Hanover College, Manchester College, and Wabash College. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Taylor University later joined in 1988.
The addition of three Ohio schools (Bluffton College, the College of Mount St. Joseph, and Wilmington College) and the departure of two Indiana schools (DePauw and Rose-Hulman) during the 1998–99 season prompted a change in name to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Wabash and Wilmington later departed in the 1998–99 and 1999–00 seasons respectively. Transylvania University joined in 2001. Rose-Hulman re-joined the HCAC, effectively for the 2006–07 season.