CLEVELAND, Ohio - The North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) is celebrating its 35th anniversary over the course of the 2018-19 academic year. As part of the year-long celebration, the NCAC has unveiled its anniversary logo, which will be used across a variety of platforms and publications throughout the season.
The commemorative logo will be used on external communications throughout the academic year, including press releases, weekly reports, sport guides and other forms of electronic communications. In addition, each institution will be encouraged to publicize the commemorative logo on their current athletic publications and electronic communications.
In conjunction with the 35th anniversary celebration, the conference will be rolling out a branding effort to better share the story of the Conference and its members' success in the competitive arena, in the classroom and in the community. One of the first projects will be the launch of a new NCAC website in September to help visually usher in a new era of competition.
"We are excited to celebrate the student-athletes, coaches and administrators who helped mold the NCAC into the elite conference it is today," said NCAC Executive Director Keri Alexander Luchowski. "The NCAC is a unique conference. Our student-athletes have accomplished remarkable success over the past 34 years and we look forward to seeing what they will do over the next 35 years - and more."
The NCAC was founded in 1983, by seven schools – Allegheny College, Case Western Reserve University, Denison University, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University and The College of Wooster – looking to provide both their male and female student-athletes with something more.
When play began in the fall of 1984, NCAC teams had found the more they were looking for. At that time, only a few conferences had just added women's sports (like the Big Ten in 1983). Hard to believe today, but in 1984, most every conference was setup for men's college sports only—and then, just for football and men's basketball. The NCAC was the first conference to state that competition for women was a key goal of its operation.
The then seven league presidents also believed that all sports were equally important – a concept almost as radical as focus on women's sports. In the NCAC, field hockey and cross country, swimming & diving and men's lacrosse are all valued as equally as football and men's basketball.
Over the past 34 years the conference has grown to 10 academically selective colleges and universities spread out across Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania — DePauw University, Hiram College, Wabash College and Wittenberg University joined with the founding members (Case Western joined the UAA) and one affiliate member, Earlham College — proudly offering 23 championship sports. The 11 sports for men and the12 for women are among the most offered by any NCAA Division III conference, and the equality in number and emphasis between men's and women's athletics is just one of the elements that sets the North Coast apart.
Athletic and academic excellence have not only survived in the NCAC model, they have prospered. Early skeptics labeled the NCAC non-competitive because of its high academics and new principles. How could academically selective colleges, such as the NCAC members, compete with other conferences and in NCAA Championships? Very well, it turns out as conference members have accumulated 68 championships in 34 playing seasons – an average of two per year. At the same time, student-athletes from NCAC Institutions routinely earn Academic All-America honors and the conference is amongst the leaders in Division III in producing NCAA postgraduate scholarship winners.
"The NCAC brings together a very specific group of institutions, all of which share a commonality," said Alexander Luchowski. "Our members all believe that high-level athletic programs support our overall educational missions. Intercollegiate athletics doesn't compete with academics, it actually enhances the experience of our students during their time on campus."