The NCAA Division III Membership Committee has recommended SUNY Canton for first year provisional status beginning this fall. The recommendation comes following SUNY Canton conducting its NCAA exploratory year in 2011-12 and formally applying for provisional status in May.
“This is incredibly fantastic news for our athletic program as well as our entire College,” said Athletic Director Randy B. Sieminski. “It’s a reflection of the tremendous efforts from everyone on campus and the remarkable progress and growth our school has experienced. The NCAA is the premier college athletic association in the world, and we’re excited about this important step forward in the membership process.”
SUNY Canton added four new varsity sports teams during the 2011-12 academic year: women’s volleyball, men’s golf, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse. The College has more than doubled the number of female student-athletes in the past two years from 45 to 91. Overall, the College has increased its total number of student-athletes from 127 to 251 in the past two years. Women’s ice hockey will be added this coming year and bring the total number of sports teams to 14 – seven for both men and women.
“The progress in athletics mirrors the outstanding growth we’ve seen everywhere on campus, but particularly in areas such as academics, student life and enrollment,” said Vice President for Advancement David M. Gerlach. “We’ve doubled the number of bachelor’s degrees in the past several years, opened a new residence hall and a new athletic facility, and we’ve set new records in enrollment for four straight years.”
SUNY Canton began offering bachelor’s degrees in 1997. The College now has 23 career-driven bachelor’s degrees. The school’s athletic teams previously competed in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) until 2007, and then in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) prior to joining the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) this past year.
“It’s an honor to receive this recommendation from the NCAA and become associated with more than 1,200 other NCAA colleges and universities, including approximately 440 Division III schools” said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. “While we’ve competed with numerous NCAA teams over the past several years, it will be great to formalize our relationship and eventually become a full member institution. This recommendation is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work and dedication for more than a decade.”
Prior to SUNY Canton joining the NAIA in 2007, former SUNY Chancellor John R. Ryan encouraged the College to progress toward NCAA membership. In a letter to President Kennedy, Chancellor Ryan wrote, “As you add additional students and strengthen your athletic program, I encourage you to consider membership in the NCAA.”
“The future of our athletics is very exciting,” said Provost Carli C. Schiffner, who will serve as Interim President upon Kennedy’s departure. “Our provisional status with the NCAA will be helpful in scheduling more games against New York State schools and other northeast opponents. In doing so, we’ll be able to cut down on travel costs, reduce the number of hours students are away from campus and the classroom, and further strengthen our shared services goals and objectives with other SUNY schools.”
SUNY Canton’s sports schedules for next year already include prestigious schools such as nearby St. Lawrence University and Clarkson University, as well as SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNYIT, SUNY Morrisville, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Maritime, Cazenovia College, Wells College, Alfred University, Paul Smith’s College, Nazareth College, Union College, Utica College, Keuka College, Medaille College, Bard College, Johnson State College (Vermont), Green Mountain College (Vermont), Lyndon State College (Vermont) and numerous others.
If approved by the Division III Management Council, SUNY Canton will begin its first year of provisional status this fall.