The North Eastern Athletic Conference has accepted Pennsylvania College of Technology for full membership beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, conference officials announced.
The first year of NEAC membership is on a provisional basis. Full membership is contingent upon Penn College being accepted for provisional membership in Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The NEAC is an NCAA Division III-recognized conference.
On Sept. 1, Penn College begins a one-year exploratory status with NCAA Division III, which comprises more than 170,000 student-athletes at nearly 450 colleges and universities nationwide.
“This marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Penn College Athletics,” said Scott E. Kennell, director of athletics. “We are very excited to be joining the North Eastern Athletic Conference and extremely grateful for the invitation to join the league. Our athletic programs have the opportunity to build upon and enhance their existing rivalries with many of the NEAC members. The North Eastern Athletic Conference is a tremendous fit for Penn College, offering top-quality competition and increased exposure within our region.”
Currently, the NEAC includes six public and seven private institutions from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The conference offers NCAA automatic qualifiers in men’s baseball, basketball, golf, soccer and tennis, as well as women’s basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball and lacrosse. Other sports sponsored are men’s and women’s cross country, men’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s swimming, and men’s volleyball.
Accepted into the NEAC as a full member at the same time as Penn College is Bryn Athyn College.
“The NEAC is excited about the quality of these two programs and about the complement of sports they will bring to the conference while strengthening the southern region of the conference,” said NEAC Commissioner Candice Murray. “The uniqueness of both institutions continues to demonstrate the NEAC’s commitment to diversity and excellence. We welcome them and are excited about the future.”
Cedar Crest College will join the NEAC in 2013-14 as an associate member for women’s swimming and diving.
Current NEAC full members are: Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Keuka College, Gallaudet University, Lancaster Bible College, Penn State Abington, Penn State Berks, Penn State Harrisburg, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville, SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome, Wells College and Wilson College.
Penn State Harrisburg will depart July 1 for the Capital Athletic Conference. With the addition of Penn College and Bryn Athena in 2014-15, the NEAC will have 14 full-member institutions.
In the provisional year of competition within the NEAC, Penn College teams will be eligible for playoffs and championships, though they will not be eligible for NCAA championship play. Until the college becomes a full NCAA member, it will continue to hold membership in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, which will allow its teams to still compete for national championships.
Penn College expects to hire two full-time coaches by 2014 and more as it progresses toward full membership in the NCAA Division III. While Penn College’s archery and wrestling teams will continue as varsity programs, they will not compete in the NEAC, because the conference does not offer those sports.
Penn College teams competing in the NEAC will be: men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s soccer, golf, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and softball.
For more about Penn College Athletics, visit www.pct.edu/athletics.