About the NESCAC
(New England Small College Athletic Conference)
Founded in 1971, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) is a group of highly selective liberal arts colleges and universities that shares a similar philosophy for intercollegiate athletics. The conference was created out of a concern for the direction of intercollegiate programs and remains committed to keeping a proper perspective on the role of sport in higher education.
The formation of the NESCAC originated with an agreement, first drafted in 1955, among Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Wesleyan University and Williams College. Along with these four institutions, Bates College, Colby College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, and Tufts University are the sustaining charter members. Connecticut College was added in 1982, bringing the conference membership to its current total of 11 institutions.
NESCAC members believe intercollegiate athletic programs should operate in harmony with the educational mission of each institution. For this reason, the presidents of NESCAC schools set conference policies and assume ultimate responsibility for the operations of their respective athletic departments.
"These are the sweatiests of the liberal arts," said Amherst President Tom Gerety. "Our coaches are some of our most devoted teachers. And the ideals and standards they teach will benefit our students throughout their lives. NESCAC gives us a context for competition in which all of us put academics first."
NESCAC institutions also believe athletic teams should be representative of the entire student body. Thus, admissions and financial policies are consistent with the NCAA Division III policies that prohibit athletic scholarships and that award financial aid solely on the basis of need.
A vote of NESCAC presidents in May of 1993 permitted teams from conference institutions to participate in NCAA Championships. This decision appears to have been a successful one: in the first year of NCAA championship eligibility four years ago, NESCAC schools qualified 18 teams for postseason play, sent teams from five sports to their respective Final Fours and had three national runners-up. This past year, 40 teams from NESCAC institutions qualified for NCAA tournament play, including two national champions and three other Final Four teams.
Last Updated October 15, 1997