LOCK HAVEN, Pa. --- The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference announced Thursday that Shepherd University has been admitted to the Conference for full-time membership, following a vote of approval by the PSAC Board of Directors on May 31.
“The PSAC Board of Directors is very pleased to invite Shepherd as our next member,” said Dr. Marcia G. Welsh, East Stroudsburg University President and Chair of the PSAC Board of Directors. “Throughout the evaluation process, there was overwhelming evidence and support from our institutional representatives that Shepherd will be an outstanding and valuable asset to the PSAC.”
Shepherd will officially become a PSAC member upon receipt of initiation fees, entitling the institution to voting privileges, and will begin regular season competition and be eligible for PSAC Championships in 2019-20.
“We are pleased to welcome the Shepherd Rams to the PSAC family of institutions. Shepherd University brings with it an outstanding athletic and academic tradition plus a perfect match for the PSAC's geographic footprint,” said PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray. “We have made the PSAC an even stronger conference today.”
Established in 1871, Shepherd University is a public liberal arts college located only 90 minutes from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore in Shepherdstown, W. Va.
Shepherd has been competing in the Mountain East Conference (MEC) since the league’s inception in 2013. The Rams have a storied football program that has claimed the MEC Championship and appeared in the NCAA Division II Football Championship field in four of the last five years (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017); including a trip to the national championship game in 2015. Additionally, the Rams have captured eight MEC titles in the sports of baseball (4), women’s lacrosse (2), women’s basketball (1), and men’s golf (1).
"Shepherd University looks forward to joining the PSAC and proudly representing West Virginia. The PSAC's commitment to academic success among student-athletes synergizes with Shepherd's commitment to training the next generation of leaders and model citizens," said Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, president of Shepherd University.
The Rams will sponsor 13 of the PSAC’s 23 sports, including football, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, volleyball, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s tennis.
"Shepherd is honored to be joining one of the top NCAA Division II conferences in the country," said Chauncey Winbush, Shepherd University vice president for athletics. "We realize this will be a significant challenge for both our university and athletics department, but we are excited to take on that challenge."
Long-known as the NCAA's largest conference, the PSAC will enter the 2018-19 academic year with 17 members with the departure of Cheyney University on June 30, 2018. The PSAC sponsors the second-most championship sports in Division II with 23.
Among its recent enhancements, the PSAC expanded its full-time membership twice during a five-year span. The first occurred during the 2008-09 academic year with the addition of Gannon and Mercyhurst Universities. Then, in the summer of 2013, Seton Hill University and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown joined the league. Along with the previously aforementioned institutions the PSAC’s members are: Bloomsburg University, California University of Pennsylvania, Clarion University, East Stroudsburg University, Edinboro University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown University, Lock Haven University, Mansfield University, Millersville University, Shippensburg University, Slippery Rock University and West Chester University.
Although all 17 current institutions are members of Division II, five league members also compete at the Division I level in select sports. PSAC institutions enroll over 125,000 students and claim approximately 800,000 alumni.
Highly competitive on a regional and national level, PSAC members annually combine to send nearly one-third of its teams into NCAA postseason play. Ultimately, the membership's success has yielded 53 NCAA team and 280 individual title winners.
While proud of its athletic accomplishments, the league also has evolved into one of Division II's finest from an academic standpoint. In 2016-17 a new standard was set with 41% of the league's student-athletes honored as "Scholar-Athletes" for maintaining a grade-point average of 3.25 or better.