WASHINGTON, D.C. - Gallaudet University President Dr. Robert R. Davila officially accepted the invitation to join the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) effective the fall semester of 2010.
"We are excited to join the NEAC! The NEAC is a great fit for Gallaudet," said President Davila. "I look forward to working with the respective conference Presidents to ensure that we keep an appropriate balance between athletics and academics. This move assures our student-athletes great competition and future in the NEAC."
GU, a founding member of the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC), will finish its membership with the CAC this coming 2009-10 school year before the switch to the NEAC takes place. The CAC and NEAC are NCAA Division III conferences.
Dr. Joseph G. Burke, President at Keuka College and Chair of the NEAC Presidents Council, spoke of the exciting addition of Gallaudet University:
"Speaking on behalf of all the NEAC presidents, we are honored and delighted to have Gallaudet University as a member of our conference. They have, most importantly, a national and international reputation for academic excellence, a long and rich athletic tradition, an ideal location in our nation's capital, and a strong commitment toward inclusive educational access for all.
They will add another dimension of diversity to our conference. We in the NEAC celebrate the fact that we are a conference of diversity as we include both state and private, co-ed and single gender, rural and urban, and large and small colleges and universities from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and now Washington, DC.
Yet as we celebrate our diversity, we all share the single purpose of providing our student-athletes with the highest quality of a total learning experience - in the classrooms and laboratories, on the athletic fields, or working in our local communities. Gallaudet University shares these ideals and they will be an excellent member of our conference."
The Bison athletic department consists of 14 varsity programs and three club teams. GU will compete in men's and women's basketball, cross country, soccer along with baseball, softball and volleyball in the NEAC. Gallaudet's men's and women's swimming and track and field programs will compete as independents while Bison football remains in the Eastern College Football Conference.
"We have the greatest respect for the CAC and respect all they have done to promote Division III athletics and the student-athletes," said GU Athletic Director Michael Weinstock. "We will miss the great people and programs of the CAC but we hope to continue our relationships in the future in non-conference competition. This move begins another chapter in the steep history of Bison athletics."
During Gallaudet's tenure in the CAC the Bison won four conference championships in volleyball (1995, '96, '99 and 2003).
The NEAC was re-formed in 2004 with 12 independent colleges who wanted be a part of a conference. The current membership stands at nine full fledge institutions from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to go with several associate members. The NEAC membership includes Cazenovia College, D'Youville College, Keuka College, Penn State University-Berks, Penn State University-Harrisburg, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Institute of Technology, Wells College and Wilson College. The associate members are Medaille College, Rutgers University-Camden, SUNY Oneonta and University of Dallas.
The NEAC and its member institutions operate intercollegiate athletics programs that must be consistent with the NCAA Division III philosophy. The NEAC recognizes that intercollegiate athletics are an integral and essential part of the collegiate experience and should operate in harmony with the educational mission of its member institutions. NEAC members must strive to uphold the highest ethical standards of athletic competition. Membership in the NEAC is intended for colleges and universities that provide a broad base of athletic competition for men and women. For more information about the NEAC please log onto www.neacsports.com.
Gallaudet, founded in 1864 by an Act of the United States Congress, is the world's premiere University for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. For more information about Gallaudet University please log onto www.gallaudet.edu.