NEAC expands to 10 members
The North Eastern Athletic Conference will expand to 10 full members next year and in the meantime also is adding four institutions as associate conference members in a variety of sports – including three sports in which the league has automatic qualification to championships.
Saint Elizabeth, a women’s college that sponsors seven sports and plans to add an eighth upon joining the NEAC, and Penn State Abington, a Division III exploratory member that hopes to gain provisional membership in 2009 and plans to sponsor 13 sports, are the newly approved full members.
The four associate members bring geographic diversity to the conference, as independent Dallas will compete this year in six NEAC sports – including the AQ sports of men’s and women’s basketball and men’s golf -- and add its women’s volleyball team to the mix in 2009-10. Dallas also will compete in men’s and women’s cross country and men’s soccer, meaning that seven of its 13 sports will compete in the NEAC.
Also joining as associate members are Medaille in men’s and women’s lacrosse, Rutgers-Camden in men’s golf, and Oneonta State in men’s tennis. Medaille is a member of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference in other sports, while Rutgers-Camden is a New Jersey Athletic Conference member and Oneonta State is a State University of New York Athletic Conference member.
“We’re gaining two new full members and four new associate members, and we are expanding our conference into two additional states – New Jersey and Texas,” said Keuka President Joseph G. Burke, chair of the league’s Presidents Council. “These new members will provide our NEAC student-athletes with greater opportunities to compete against the finest public and private academic institutions in our region and country.”
The new schools join current members Cazenovia, Keuka, Penn State Berks, Penn State Harrisburg, Cobleskill State, SUNY Institute of Technology, Wells and Wilson in the conference. Another current member, D’Youville, will join the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference next year.
Three of the NEAC’s schools – Cazenovia, Keuka and Penn State Berks – were among the 12 institutions present for the league’s formation in 2004.
The league currently sponsors 14 sports, and its leaders say it will consider adding sports that fit the new membership profile.
The league will sponsor men’s and women’s lacrosse for the first time this year, with Medaille joining four other schools in the hunt for the first conference titles in each of those sports. Saint Elizabeth plans to introduce women’s lacrosse in spring 2010, becoming the sixth league school to sponsor that sport.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association