Wesley leaving CAC for new conference

 

DOVER — Wesley College is leaving the Capital Athletic Conference to join a new league that it is helping form.

The new league will be called the Atlantic East Conference and will begin play next fall.

The AEC will include many of the small, private schools that Wesley was previously a member with in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference.

The membership of the Atlantic East will include Cabrini University, Gwynedd Mercy University, Immaculata University, Marymount University, Marywood University, Neumann University and Wesley.

The Wolverines will remain a member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference in football.

“Wesley College is proud and excited to be part of the newly formed Atlantic East Conference,” said Wesley President Robert E. Clark II. “The AEC is made up of private faith-based institutions with similar values and a common goal of providing the best competitive and educational opportunities for our student athletes, and potential student-athletes in our region.”

“This is an exciting day for our athletic department we will be part of a new conference the Atlantic East will enhance the athletic experience for all of our student athletes,” said athletic director Mike Drass. “We have enjoyed our time in the Capital Athletic Conference. It is one of the best athletic conferences in the country and we will look back on our time in the CAC with great pride.

“But this was a common sense move made with our students best interests in mind.”

Wesley found it difficult to compete in a number of sports in the Capital, which includes some of the top Division III programs in the country. Since joining the CAC in the 2007-08 school year, the Wolverines won just four conference titles — three in men’s golf and one in men’s basketball.

As state-sponsored schools, a number of CAC members have access to greater funding for their programs and facilities.

The Atlantic East will officially come into existence on July 1. The league will initially sponsor championships in 19 sports.

The conference will be eligible for automatic bids to the NCAA III Tournament beginning in the 2020-21 seasons in the sports which all seven schools offer.

“We are excited about joining a conference of small private schools and playing against teams we used to have great rivalries with,” said long-time Wesley men’s soccer coach Steve Clark.

“The AEC will be great for our student-athletes to compete against student athletes from other like institutions,” said Wolverine field hockey coach Tracy Short.

“The Atlantic East was a culmination of efforts by the presidents and athletic directors of the seven institutions and was an extremely collaborative effort,” said Dr. Matt Shank, president of Marymount and Chair of the Atlantic East President’s Council said. “We are all excited to bring institutions together that share similar missions, values and beliefs along with the common understanding that athletics play an important role at our institutions.”

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or walter@newszap.com.

 

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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