Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference is dedicated to fostering a complementary relationship between intercollegiate athletics and the pursuit of academic excellence. Consisting of 10 academically selective colleges and universities in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania — Allegheny College, Denison University, DePauw University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University, The College of Wooster, along with affiliate member Earlham College — the NCAC believes that high-level athletic programs need not be sacrificed in order to meet rigid academic standards.
Significantly, all 10 NCAC institutions have been granted chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, the preeminent honor society for colleges and universities. Only 286 of the more than 3,000 four-year institutions in the United States have been so honored.
A member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III, the NCAC features championship competition in 23 sports — 11 for men and 12 for women. The 12 women’s sports are among the most offered by any 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.
The goals of the conference express the best aspirations of American amateur athletics. The NCAC brings together a group of institutions which share a common allegiance to academic quality and to the conduct of athletics so as to support the educational purpose. Intercollegiate athletics can and should complement academic life, rather than compete with it, and sports should enhance the experience of students during their college years. This type of academic and athletic commitment has been led by the 10 school presidents, who have taken an active role in the governance of the conference.
Sixty-two teams from all 23 North Coast sports and nine of the 10 members competed in the NCAA post-season during the 2015-16 academic year. The NCAC added another NCAA Division III swimming championship last year as Denison claimed the men’s title for the third time in program history. In addition, the Wittenberg women’s volleyball team advanced to the national title match for the second time in school history, where the Tigers finished as the national runner-up following a 3-0 loss against Cal Lutheran. Conference members have accumulated 70 national championships since the league was formed in February of 1983.
In the 2015-16 academic year, 228 All-America or Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America certificates were distributed to student-athletes from North Coast schools.
The NCAC’s commitment to equity, its broad base of athletic programs, and an unwavering insistence on excellence in academics has served as a model for conferences throughout the country.
The North Coast has shown not only that these ideals can coexist, but that they can flourish. The NCAC continues as a pace-setter in the 21st century.
NCAA Division III
Founded and Chartered
Number of Championship Sports
23 (11 men's, 12 women's)
Related North Coast Athletic Conference links: