HCAC formally welcomes Earlham

The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference has announced that Earlham College will join the membership beginning in the 2010-11 academic year. Earlham, located in Richmond, Ind., will join the conference after spending the past 20 years affiliated with the North Coast Athletic Conference.

Douglas Bennett, Earlham's president, had told Earlham's student newspaper, The Earlham Word, that the school's goal is to win half of its games every season. A switch from the NCAC would help meet that goal, the paper cited Bennett as having said.

Earlham hasn't met that goal in men's basketball since 2003, in which the Quakers went 13-13, 8-8 in the NCAC. Last season Earlham was 3-22, 3-13 in the NCAC and 0-9 outside of it, including five losses to HCAC schools. The women's basketball team last had a winning season in 2003, going 13-11. Last year they were 3-20, 2-14 against the NCAC and 0-5 against the NCAC.

"We are very pleased to have Earlham College join the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference as our tenth member beginning in the fall of 2010, as they have a rich tradition of strong academic and intercollegiate athletic programs," said Christopher Ragsdale, commissioner of the HCAC. "Many of our conference members have already been competing in non-league contests with Earlham College.  They (Earlham College) are centrally located to our other conference schools which make them a natural fit."

The addition of Earlham marks the first change in membership for the HCAC since Rose-Hulman joined the league in 2006. Earlham will be centrally located in the conference that also includes Anderson, Bluffton, Defiance, Franklin, Hanover, Manchester, Mount St. Joseph, Rose-Hulman and Transylvania.

"I am extremely excited that Earlham has been invited to join the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference," says Bennett. "In joining Heartland, we are rejoining a number of colleges and universities that have been institutions with which Earlham has competed for many decades. We are delighted to now be in a conference with them."

The HCAC currently sponsors 16 championships in men's and women's athletics. Beginning in the 2010-11 academic year, Earlham will be competing in 13 of 16 sports in the HCAC, excluding men's and women's golf and softball.  

"Games against HCAC members permeate throughout Earlham's athletic history, with rivalries that began years before formal conference affiliations," stated Frank Carr, Earlham's athletic director. "We believe that renewing this relationship will be a winning situation for all involved."