Gannon, Mercyhurst join PSAC
In a groundbreaking move for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, the league announced Wednesday that Gannon University and Mercyhurst College have become the first privately owned conference members, increasing the number of full members to 16.
The two schools, located three miles apart in Erie, will begin their new association in 2008-09 after remaining with the Michigan-based Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for one year.
They each will be required to pay the GLIAC a $50,000 fee for waiving a two-year notice rule.
"There is no question that today is a historic day for the (PSAC)," conference commissioner Steve Murray said. "We did not have to look very far to find a pair of schools that would fit in well with our current members."
The PSAC, whose original members are state-owned institutions within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, is the largest NCAA Division II conference with all of its full-time members located in the same state.
Prior to the new additions, the PSAC's 14 full members included schools such as California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana, Lock Haven, Shippensburg and Slippery Rock.
The PSAC last week also extended an invitation to Long Island University-C.W. Post to join the league as an associate member in football and field hockey and has given the New York school a Monday deadline to respond.
Murray said the league is about to reinforce its standing among the nation's Division II conferences by increasing the number of scholarships a school can offer. In the past, the PSAC has lagged behind other conferences such as the GLIAC.
Subsequent to the PSAC's proposed expansion, the league's board of directors voted to amend annual scholarship polices, allowing an increase of 45 athletics equivalencies to 125 for each of its members.