Wilmington, Vt. -- The North Atlantic Conference (NAC) is pleased to announce it will add three new associate members in field hockey beginning in 2016-17. The NAC will form a partnership with the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC), bringing together nine member schools that sponsor the sport, to compete within the North Atlantic Conference.
Beginning next season, NEAC full members Keuka College, Wells College and Wilson College will become associate members of the NAC and will represent the West Division, while NAC full members Castleton University, Colby-Sawyer College, Husson University, University of Maine at Farmington, New England College and Thomas College will make up the East Division.
Each division will conduct regular season competition before holding divisional rounds of the NAC tournament. The two divisional champions will then square off to proclaim an overall champion, who will then earn the NAC automatic bid into the NCAA Field Hockey Tournament.
"The NAC is pleased to welcome these three fine institutions to the conference as associate members in Field Hockey," said NAC Commissioner Julie Muller. "We strive to provide student-athletes with outstanding experiences and ensuring continued access to the NCAA National Tournament is a priority for our member institutions. We have a rich tradition in field hockey as well as a strong partnership with our NEAC colleagues which combine to make this a win-win opportunity."
"The NAC continues to be a great sister conference for the NEAC," explained NEAC Commissioner Candice Murray. "In terms of additional opportunities for our field hockey teams, I know that the NEAC student-athletes and coaches are thrilled about this new agreement and the opportunity to potentially advance to the NCAA Tournament."
This new agreement with the NAC will run through the 2017-18 season, with the option to renew following that year. The partnership is very similar to the current NEAC-NAC pact in men's and women's tennis.