Keuka College will join the Empire 8 Conference in the Fall of 2020, creating new rivalries and increasing opportunities for the College's New York fans and alumni to attend athletic events.
"We are extremely excited to be joining the Empire 8 Conference," said Keuka College Athletics Director Dave Sweet. "The Empire 8 invitation is recognition of the incredible level of achievement our student-athletes attain, both on and off the field."
The College's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the move at its Jan. 22 meeting. The decision comes after lengthy review by the College's Athletics department, the President's Cabinet, and a Blue-Ribbon Panel convened specifically to review the Empire 8 invitation.
In entering the Empire 8, Keuka College joins eight other private schools in New York state with similar missions and values. The switch means new, closer-to-home rivals including Elmira, Nazareth, and St. John Fisher colleges, and less travel and missed class time for Keuka College student-athletes.
"We are very excited to welcome Keuka College to the Empire 8 family," said Empire 8 Commissioner Chuck Mitrano. "Keuka embodies the values we hold in high regard: presidential leadership, a commitment to character development, academic success, and an exceptional student-athlete experience."
In announcing the transition, Keuka College Interim President Amy Storey said that the College stresses both halves of the scholar-athlete equation.
"Over the past year, our student-athletes have been recognized at the highest level for both athletic and academic achievements," she said. "Academic achievement among our student-athletes remains consistently high, and I have no doubt that our students are up to the challenge of meeting Empire 8's higher academic achievement criteria, as well as competing on the field."
Houghton College President and Chair of the Empire 8 Conference President's Council Dr. Shirley Mullen sees the College as an excellent fit for the conference.
"We are delighted to welcome Keuka College to the Empire 8 Conference," she said. "Their membership within the E8 both strengthens the presence of our conference in our region and fulfills a longstanding aspiration of the Keuka College community."
Keuka College is a current and founding member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference. The NEAC, now hosts a mix of public and private schools that stretch across New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. Both the Empire 8 and NEAC are NCAA Division III conferences.
Keuka College will become the ninth full member of the Empire 8, joining Utica, Houghton, Alfred University, Elmira, Hartwick, Nazareth, St. John Fisher, and the Sage Colleges. Keuka College currently sponsors 22 varsity teams.
As part of Keuka College's entrance into the Empire 8, it intends to raise more than $1.8 million to renovate locker rooms, enhance the College's weight room and strength center, and bring enhanced live-streaming to the Jephson Community Athletic Complex. Those interest in supporting the College's move with a gift may do so at keuka.edu/give or by calling the Office of Development at (315) 279-5262.
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