Waterville, Maine - The North Atlantic Conference (NAC) announced it will welcome the State University of New York (SUNY) at Delhi as a full member institution beginning in the fall of 2019, as confirmed by the NAC President's Council.
"We are thrilled to welcome SUNY Delhi to the NAC as a full member," said NAC President's Council Chair, Dr. Elaine Collins of Northern Vermont University. "We were impressed with their academic programs and commitment to providing an exceptional scholar athlete experience, and we believe Delhi will be a great addition to our growing conference."
SUNY Delhi is currently an associate member of the NAC in six sports – men's and women's track & field, men's golf, men's lacrosse, men's and women's tennis. Women's tennis was slated to begin participation in the fall of 2019.
"SUNY Delhi prides itself on providing our students with outstanding opportunities to reach their potential in all areas," said SUNY Delhi President Dr. Michael Laliberte. "The acceptance into the NAC will provide an exciting step forward for our athletic department and student athletes."
The Broncos are midway through their first official year as a provisional NCAA Division III member after successfully completing an exploratory partnership in 2017-18. This allows SUNY Delhi to operate and brand as a Division III school while continuing to meet operational benchmarks for full-time membership as early as 2021-22. During the provisional process, the Broncos are eligible to compete for NAC conference championships and will become eligible for NCAA national championships once becoming a full member institution.
SUNY Delhi currently sponsors 19 sports (ten women's and nine men's), 11 of which will participate in the NAC in 2019-20. NAC sponsored sports include men's and women's cross country, men's golf, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's outdoor track & field, men's lacrosse, and women's volleyball. Men's and women's basketball and softball will remain partners with the American Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) next year, and become participating members of the NAC in 2020-21. SUNY Delhi will retain membership in their current conferences in the remaining sports of men's and women's swimming & diving, men's and women's indoor track & field, and women's golf.
"On behalf of SUNY Delhi we want to thank Commissioner Zalot and the entire North Atlantic Conference membership on accepting SUNY Delhi's application," said Director of Athletics, Bob Backus. "The Broncos eagerly look forward to this new chapter of our NCAA Division III athletic history."
The addition of SUNY Delhi as a full member, the third institution to join the conference in two years, continues the NAC's ongoing strategic initiative to build membership and provide high quality educational experiences for institutions and students. The conference welcomed UMaine-Presque Isle and SUNY Canton as full members in 2018-19, joining Husson University, Maine Maritime Academy, UMaine-Farmington, Thomas College (ME), Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, and Northern Vermont University-Johnson.
"I am excited to welcome SUNY Delhi as a full member of the NAC," said Commissioner Marcella Zalot. "It has been wonderful to learn about their institution, and to work with Delhi's leadership through their affiliation as an associate member and through the full membership application process. The institution aligns nicely with the NAC's mission and core values and is a great fit with our conference. I want to thank President Dr. Michael Laliberte and Athletic Director Bob Backus in particular, for all their work leading up to this point."
"It became abundantly clear over the last year that Delhi is a quality institution with quality people," Zalot continued. "I am thrilled to welcome the Delhi coaches and staff to the conference and look forward to working with them. I am certain SUNY Delhi will make the NAC stronger."
The North Atlantic Conference was founded in 1997 as the North Atlantic Women's Conference (NAWC), giving female student-athletes an opportunity to compete in a post-season tournament. The NAWC was then rebranded as the North Atlantic Conference in 1999. The NAC currently sponsors 17 men's and women's intercollegiate sports in Division III of the NCAA, including baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, men's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's outdoor track & field and women's volleyball.