Green Mountain and Lyndon State joined the North Atlantic Conference, while eight schools, including five from the NAC, are forming a new league.
NAC departees Bay Path, Becker, Elms, Lesley and Wheelock join Daniel Webster from the GNAC and independents Mitchell and Newbury in forming the New England Athletic Conference. The NEnAC, not to be confused with the New England Small College Athletic Conference, New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference or New England Football Conference, let alone the North Eastern Athletic Conference, will start play in 2008-09 and could be eligible for an automatic bid in men's and women's basketball in 2011.
"I am pleased to announce the creation of the New England Athletic Conference," said Louise McCleary, Elms athletic director, who will serve as chair of the Athletic Directors Council. "The formation of this conference brings together eight institutions that have much in common both athletically and academically."
Elms is the reigning NAC champion in men's basketball. The eight women's basketball teams went 56-144 (.280) in 2006-07.
"Following my site visits and the institutional presentations, it was apparent that the philosophies and commitment to the student-athletes on each campus were in line with our current membership and all will benefit by this future affiliation." NAC Commissioner Julie Muller said.
Both schools currently sponsor 10 sports which will compete in NAC championships; men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, men's tennis, softball and volleyball. Additionally, Lyndon State sponsors baseball and women's tennis while Green Mountain will compete in golf.
"I am delighted that the NAC has added both Green Mountain and Lyndon State to our league for the 2008-09 season and beyond," said Castleton president and current NAC Presidents' Council chair Dave Wolk. "Our conference continues to grow and flourish, adhering to the non-scholarship focus on student-athletes embraced by Division III NCAA colleges."