Shepherd joining PSAC in '19
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference got stronger Thursday after the Board of Directors approved the admission of Shepherd University for the 2019-20 year.
Shepherd will replace Cheyney, which is leaving the PSAC on June 30.
The PSAC will enter the 2018-19 academic year with 17 members after the departure of Cheyney. The PSAC sponsors the second-most championship sports in Division II with 23.
“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,” PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray said. “We have made the PSAC an even stronger conference today.”
Shepherd is a public liberal arts college located 90 minutes from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore in Shepherdstown, W.Va. It was established in 1871.
Shepherd has been competing in the Mountain East Conference since the league's inception in 2013 and previously was a power in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
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.
Seton Hill and Pitt-Johnstown played against Shepherd when it was part of the WVIAC. Seton Hill baseball coach Marc Marizzaldi said a tough conference and region got even tougher.
“Geographically it's a pretty good fit,” Marizzaldi said. “We were already one of the best conferences in Division II.
“Now we're adding one of the best baseball schools in our region. It's going to strengthen our conference and make it tougher.”
Shepherd vice president for athletics Chauncey Winbush said: “Shepherd is honored to be joining one of the top NCAA Division II conferences in the country. We realize this will be a significant challenge for both our university and athletics department, but we are excited to take on that challenge.”