Colby-Sawyer and New England College will join the North Atlantic Conference effective the fall of 2011, following a mass exodus of membership earlier this year that saw nine members of The Commonwealth Coast Conference break away to form a new league.
"The North Atlantic Conference Presidents Council is pleased both Colby-Sawyer College and New England College will be joining the conference," chairperson for the Presidents Council and Maine-Farmington president Theodora Kalikow said. "Both institutions clearly share the commitment to academic excellence and to the NCAA Division III philosophy of the existing NAC members making this an excellent fit for all involved."
The addition of Colby-Sawyer and New England College will bring the number of full member institutions to 10 and marks the first change in membership for the NAC since the addition of Green Mountain and Lyndon State in the fall of 2008. The two New Hampshire schools bridge a gap in the conference footprint that currently includes four institutions in Maine and four institutions in Vermont.
Beginning in the fall of 2011, both schools will take part in nine NAC championships; men's and women's basketball, men's and women’s cross country, field hockey, men's and women's soccer and women’s lacrosse. Colby-Sawyer will also compete in women’s volleyball and men’s tennis while New England College will compete in men’s lacrosse and softball.
The North Atlantic Conference members sponsoring baseball and women’s tennis, currently compete in the North Eastern Athletic Conference for those sports. Both New England College and Colby-Sawyer will join this existing partnership in baseball and Colby-Sawyer will also compete with the NEAC as an associate member in women’s tennis.
"From a sport sponsorship and geographic standpoint, Colby-Sawyer and New England College are the perfect additions to our already strong Conference," Commissioner Julie Muller indicated. "I have no doubt they will each make a seamless transition into the NAC and their student-athletes will continue to have the outstanding experiences to which they are accustomed.
Curry, Endicott, Gordon, Nichols, Roger Williams, Salve Regina, University of New England, Wentworth and Western New England broke from the CCC to form a new league, while Anna Maria will be joining the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Eastern Nazarene and Regis (Mass.) have not announced plans for a new affiliation.