After 37 years, Allegheny College, a founding member of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), has announced that it will be leaving the conference effective July 1st, 2022. For the 2022-2023 season, Allegheny will be returning to the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC), which is geographically centered in Pennsylvania. One of the founding members of the NCAA, Allegheny was previously a member of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference from 1958-1984, where they saw a period of remarkable success in men’s football, basketball, golf, and diving.
Allegheny was a football powerhouse throughout their time in the PAC, including a series of PAC championships while producing several All-American athletes. In their final year in the PAC, Allegheny earned their first ever NCAA Division III championship, with a memorable season by their men’s golf team.
However, at the beginning of the 1980s, Allegheny joined a group of other schools who wanted to include women’s sports on equal footing with men’s sports. In the 37 playing seasons since the NCAC’s founding, Allegheny is responsible for one of the 69 NCAA championships won by the conference, coming in 1990, courtesy of their football team. In a truly historic season, Allegheny finished with an undefeated extraordinary 13-0-1 record by winning the championship game 21-14 in overtime, the second NCAA championship won by the emerging conference.
According to the President Hilary L. Link of Allegheny, the transition to the PAC is going to promote a unique interdisciplinary academic brand, with an emphasis on holistic student success and reduced travel time to competitions and league games and events. Furthermore, the transition will allow their student athletes the ability to better emphasize academics in a conference that has a comparable level of academic prowess to the NCAC. During Link’s announcement of Allegheny’s transition, she asserted that “The PAC’s mission of promoting athletics and the pursuit of academic excellence is a great fit for Allegheny”.
Allegheny’s departure has created additional scheduling issues for the rest of the NCAC, with the current conference only having nine teams for the 2022-2023 season. According to Wabash Athletic Director Matt Tanney, “The plan… [for adding additional schools into the conference is] to find schools that are closely aligned with all the other programs in the conference right now.” He continued by saying that while this would create unique scheduling challenges in all sports, it would allow for the programs to incorporate extra non-conference games into their schedule, most notably for football. As announced over the Winter Break, Wabash football’s schedule will include home games at Little Giant Stadium against prestigious football powerhouse North Central and Hampden-Sydney College, who were inserted to make up for the vacant spot belonging to the game against Allegheny. The addition of Hampden-Sydney will renew the Gentlemen’s Classic Football rivalry between two of the only all-male institutes in the entire country. Wabash swept the opening pair of games by winning decisively in 2014 campaign and dominating in a 35-3 victory at the beginning of the 2015 season.
With Allegheny’s time in the NCAC coming to an end, AD Tanney stressed that “Allegheny have been good partners in the NCAC and we certainly wish them well”.