Another program leaving Capital Athletic Conference

Men's soccer
Penn State-Harrisburg has won zero conference championships in five years in the Capital Athletic Conference, after winning seven conference titles in its previous six-year stint in the North Eastern Athletic Conference.
PSH athletics photo

Penn State-Harrisburg became the second program in as many weeks to announce plans to leave the Capital Athletic Conference, as the school announced it was returning to the North Eastern Athletic Conference starting with the 2019-20 season.

PSH follows Frostburg State, which announced it was seeking membership in NCAA Division II. Previously, Marymount and Wesley left the CAC to help form the Atlantic East Conference. The AEC starts play this fall.

The moves leave just six full member schools in the CAC for the fall of 2019: Christopher Newport, Mary Washington, St. Mary's (Md.), Salisbury, Southern Virginia and York (Pa.). Barring the addition of new members, the CAC would lose automatic bids in all NCAA Division III sports for the 2021-22 season.

For Penn State-Harrisburg, this represents a return to a previous home. The school was a member of the NEAC from 2007 to 2013.

"We have established and maintained an environment where our student-athletes' activities are conducted as an integral part of the total educational experience, and where coaches play a significant role as educators outside the classroom," said Rahsaan Carlton, Penn State-Harrisburg athletic director. "This move will only help to enhance our athletic programs, and increase our competitive spirit."

The athletic department has won zero conference championships in the Capital Athletic Conference after winning seven in six years in the NEAC. PSH finished ninth in the all-sports award for the CAC in 2017-18, and has finished ninth in each of its years in the conference.

"We are pleased to rejoin NEAC," said recently retired Penn State-Harrisburg chancellor Mukund Kulkarni. "As our program continues to grow and succeed, I look forward to again participating in this competitive conference as we enhance our athletics and provide our student athletes another opportunity to compete at a high level while pursuing their Penn State education."

Intercollegiate athletics returned to Penn State Harrisburg in the fall 2005-06 season after a 10-year break. The college, in 2007, became a provisional member of the NCAA Division III, and a full member in 2010. The college fields teams in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, men's golf, and women's volleyball.

Since returning to athletics, the college has grown significantly and achieved much success, including the expansion and enhancement of facilities, and All-American recognition for several athletes. Athletics has become a major component to the overall college experience at Penn State Harrisburg.

NEAC membership has seen a number of changes over the last year due to conference reshuffling throughout Division III. Bryn Athyn and Wilson departed the NEAC at the end of the 2017-18 academic year and St. Elizabeth will join the Colonial States Athletic Conference for the 2019-20 year. The addition of Penn State-Harrisburg will provide geographic balance for the NEAC with six full-member institutions in each of the North and South divisions.

“The NEAC is very excited to welcome Penn State Harrisburg back into the conference in 2019,” said NEAC commissioner Candice Murray. “Penn State-Harrisburg served the NEAC well in the past and we are confident their return will immediately enhance the strength and competitiveness of our conference. We look forward to working with their staff as they continue to show tremendous dedication to providing their student-athletes with a well-rounded Division III experience.”