The Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference announced the addition of Illinois Institute of Technology to the league membership beginning the 2018-19 academic year.
"We are very pleased that IIT will be joining the NACC," said NACC commissioner G. Steven Larson. "We feel they will be great fit in terms of their mission, core values, geographic location, academic prowess, and athletic competitiveness as they reach full NCAA Division III status."
Founded in 1890, Illinois Tech is a private, technology-focused research university located in Chicago. The university has an undergradute enrollment of 2,789 according to the most recent information it has provided the U.S. Department of Education.
Less than four months ago, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced IIT would play baseball as a WIAC member starting in the spring of 2018. That affiliation will be short-lived.
"The members of the NACC are pleased to welcome Illinois Tech," said Rebecca Sherrick, Aurora University president and chair of the NACC Council of Chief Executive Officers. "We look forward to many years ahead of intercollegiate play in Division III of the NCAA. Illinois Tech brings an impressive array of academic and athletic strengths to our conference of Illinois and Wisconsin colleges and universities."
Currently completing its third of four provisional years with the NCAA, the Scarlet Hawks are expected to become full NCAA Division III members beginning the 2018-19 academic year.
"Illinois Tech is proud to join the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference," said Illinois Tech president Alan W. Cramb. "An Illinois Tech education makes it possible for students to excel in scholastics, entrepreneurship and innovation as well as athletics. And this new partnership will significantly increase opportunities for our talented students. We are especially excited that our student-athletes will now get a chance to compete in NCAA Tournaments and conference championships. This is a great day for Illinois Tech."
In the NACC, the Scarlet Hawks will sponsor the sports of baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's soccer, women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis, men's indoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, women's outdoor track and field, men's volleyball and women's volleyball.
Illinois Tech also sponsors women's lacrosse and men's and women's swimming and diving and will begin men's lacrosse in the spring of 2019.
"The opportunity to complete in the NACC will be a great boost to our program," said Illinois Tech athletic director Joe Hakes. "As we have transitioned the athletic department to NCAA Division III, it is apparent that conference membership plays a big part in how we grow and develop. The NACC's lineup of members will provide us with standards of achievement that will help us gauge the progress of our programs. We look forward to being good, contributing members to the conference and look forward to new rivalries and colleagues."
Beginning in 2018-19, the Scarlet Hawks will immediately be included in league schedules and championships in cross country, tennis and track and field. Since conference and many nonconference schedules have been set for baseball, basketball, soccer and volleyball, conference committees will be meeting to explore if Illinois Tech can be added into the 2018-19 schedules, but the new member will be included in 2019-20 at the latest.
The addition of Illinois Tech is the first since Milwaukee School of Engineering joined the league in 2007 and the first change to conference membership since Maranatha Baptist left in the summer of 2013.
The NACC began its first season of competition in the fall of 2006. The conference consists of 12 private colleges and universities from the shared-border states of Illinois and Wisconsin, all of which are NCAA Division III members.
The NACC sponsors championships in 18 sports. Men's championships include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field. Women's championships are sponsored in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field and volleyball. Men's volleyball will become the 19th championship sport next year.
Beginning July 1, 2018, the NACC will consist of Alverno College, Aurora University, Benedictine University, Concordia University Chicago, Concordia University Wisconsin, Dominican University, Edgewood College, Illinois Institute of Technology, Lakeland University, Marian University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rockford University, and Wisconsin Lutheran College.