(Posted December 13, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, PA - The presidents of eight colleges and universities have announced the formation of a new NCAA Division III athletics conference. The members of the new conference will compete in all sports other than football. The conference, yet to be named, will begin competition in the fall of 2007.

The institutions are Catholic University, Washington, D.C.; Drew University, Madison, N.J.; Goucher College, Baltimore, Md.; Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa.; Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pa.; Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J.; Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pa.; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, King's Point, N.Y.

In a joint statement, presidents of the above institutions outlined the purpose and character of the new conference: "In forming an affiliation with this new conference, we have affirmed a shared focus on institutional excellence that emphasizes our academic mission and a belief that athletics competition is an important component of the undergraduate experience."

"Juniata is pleased to become part of an athletic conference with these seven truly exceptional schools," said Juniata College President Thomas R. Kepple. "We believe that our association with outstanding institutions will be extremely beneficial for both our student-athletes and the Juniata College community as a whole. The new conference also provides us with a chance to compete in areas with high Juniata alumni populations."

Echoing President Kepple's remarks, Larry Bock, Juniata College director of athletics, said that "the outstanding academic reputations of the institutions, along with the geographic diversity of the conference should help insure that our student-athletes enjoy a memorable and productive collegiate athletic experience. The new conference affiliation should help us continue to provide excellent opportunities for growth both on and off the field."

In addition to athletics competition, members of the new conference will explore ways to develop and expand curricular and co-curricular relationships among their institutions.

Presidents of the eight member institutions indicated that work had begun on a full range of organizational activities related to the formation of a new conference, including the articulation of conference philosophy, drafting and adoption of governing by-laws, petition for NCAA recognition, staffing and organization of conference offices, and establishment of operating and financial procedures.

Teams from the eight colleges and universities will continue to participate in their current conferences through spring 2007.

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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.