New England Small College Athletic Conference
|New England Small College Athletic Conference
|Sports fielded||26 (men's: 13; women's: 13)|
|Commissioner||Andrea Savage (since 1999)|
The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) is an NCAA Division III athletic conference, consisting of eleven highly selective liberal arts colleges and universities located in New England and New York. Often referred to as the "Little Ivies", most of the schools have competed against one another since the 19th century.
The idea for such an athletic conference originated with an agreement among Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Wesleyan University and Williams College drafted in 1955. In 1971 Bates College, Colby College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, and Union College joined on and NESCAC was officially formed. Today's sustaining members include all the original members but Union, which withdrew in 1977 and was replaced by Connecticut College in 1982.
- 1 Mission
- 2 Member schools
- 3 Conference championships
- 4 Football Scheduling
- 5 NCAA Division III competition
- 6 Conference venues
- 7 Athletic spending
- 8 Related athletic conferences
- 9 Notable alumni
- 10 References
- 11 External links
NESCAC schools share a similar philosophy for intercollegiate athletics. The Conference was created out of a concern for the direction of intercollegiate athletic programs and remains committed to keeping a proper perspective on the role of sport in higher education. Member institutions believe athletic teams should be representative of school's entire student bodies and hew to NCAA Division III admissions and financial policies prohibiting athletic scholarships while awarding financial aid solely on the basis of need. Due to the prestigious reputations of its member schools, the NESCAC is able to attract many of the most athletically and intellectually gifted student-athletes in the country.
NESCAC members stress that intercollegiate athletic programs should operate in harmony with the educational mission of each institution. Schools are committed to maintaining common boundaries to keep athletics strong yet in proportion to their overall academic mission. Presidents of each NESCAC institution control intercollegiate athletic policy.
Conference tenets are usually more restrictive than those of the NCAA Division III regarding season length, number of contests and post-season competition.
The schools are all well-regarded academically. It should be noted that with the exception of Tufts, which is included in the USNWR "National Universities" list, the numbers in the table below represent the rank of the institution in the U.S. News & World Report list of "National Liberal Arts Colleges".
|Institution||USNWR Category||USNWR Rank||Class of 2018 Acceptance Rate|
|Amherst College||Liberal Arts||2||13.0%|
|Bates College||Liberal Arts||19||25.4%|
|Bowdoin College||Liberal Arts||5||14.9%|
|Colby College||Liberal Arts||15||28.0%|
|Connecticut College||Liberal Arts||45||36.2%|
|Hamilton College||Liberal Arts||15||25.9%|
|Middlebury College||Liberal Arts||7||17.3%|
|Trinity College||Liberal Arts||45||31.1%|
|Wesleyan University||Liberal Arts||15||23.2%|
|Williams College||Liberal Arts||1||18.2%|
The league currently has 11 full members:
|Institution||Location||Nickname||Founded||Founding Religious Affiliation||Enrollment||Joined|
|Amherst College||Amherst, Massachusetts||Lord Jeffs||1821||Congregationalist||1,817||1971|
|Bates College||Lewiston, Maine||Bobcats||1855||Free Will Baptist||1,769||1971|
|Bowdoin College||Brunswick, Maine||Polar Bears||1794||Congregationalist||1,777||1971|
|Colby College||Waterville, Maine||White Mules||1813||Northern Baptist||1,838||1971|
|Connecticut College||New London, Connecticut||Camels||1911||Methodist||1,911||1982|
|Hamilton College||Clinton, New York||Continentals||1793||Presbyterian||1,864||1971|
|Middlebury College||Middlebury, Vermont||Panthers||1800||Congregationalist||2,507||1971|
|Trinity College||Hartford, Connecticut||Bantams||1823||Episcopalian||2,344||1971|
|Tufts University||Medford, Massachusetts||Jumbos||1852||Universalist||5,138||1971|
|Wesleyan University||Middletown, Connecticut||Cardinals||1831||Methodist||2,870||1971|
|Williams College||Williamstown, Massachusetts||Ephs||1793||Congregationalist||2,124||1971|
|Union College||Schenectady, New York||Dutchmen (men's)
The NESCAC holds conference championships in the following sports:
|Swimming & Diving||
|Track and field||
Due to the fact that there are 10 football-playing schools in the NESCAC, but only 8 regular season games, NESCAC football teams rotate their opening opponents on a two-year cycle.
|School||Opponent (Even Years)||Opponent (Odd Years)|
NESCAC schools always end the year against the same opponent, typically their biggest rival. These five matchups (listed with the home team in odd years first) are: Hamilton-Bates, Tufts-Middlebury, Trinity-Wesleyan Bowdoin-Colby, and Williams-Amherst.
NCAA Division III competition
Four NESCAC institutions are among the 39 that founded the NCAA in 1905: Amherst, Tufts, Wesleyan, and Williams.
Prior to 1993 NESCAC generally did not allow member schools to send teams to NCAA championships. Since then all sports except football have had this freedom, many excelling in the NCAA Division III championships. The NACDA Directors' Cup, awarded since 1996 to the college or university in each NCAA Division that wins the most college championships, has been claimed at the Division III level by a NESCAC institution every year except 1998. In the 2012-2013 season, four of the top ten NACDA Director's Cup institutions were from NESCAC: Williams (1), Middlebury (3), Amherst (6), and Tufts (8).
In addition to the ban on post-season play, the NESCAC football league is notable for member teams playing conference games only. While some Division II and Division III teams play only conference schedules, NESCAC is unique in all of its members playing only conference games.
Middlebury leads NESCAC in total National Championship teams, winning 32 titles since the conference lifted its ban on NCAA play. Williams is second with 25 NCAA championships, Tufts next at 21.
|Amherst||Pratt Field||8,000||LeFrak Gymnasium||2,450|
|Bates||Garcelon Field||3,000||Alumni Gymnasium||750|
|Bowdoin||Whittier Field||9,000||Morrell Gymnasium||2,000|
|Colby||Harold Alfond Stadium||5,000||Wadsworth Gymnasium||2,500|
|Connecticut||Non-football school||N/A||Luce Fieldhouse||800|
|Hamilton||Steuben Field||2,500||Margaret Bundy Scott Field House||2,500|
|Middlebury||Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium||3,500||Pepin Gymnasium||1,200|
|Trinity||Jessee/Miller Field||6,500||Oosting Gym||2,000|
|Tufts||Ellis Oval||6,000||Cousens Gym||1,000|
|Wesleyan||Andrus Field||5,000||Silloway Gymnasium||1,200|
|Williams||Weston Field||10,000||Chandler Gymnasium||2,900|
The U. S. Department of Education publishes statistics on athletic spending by colleges. In 2008-09, athletic spending by NESCAC schools was as follows:
|School||Athletic Spending||Div III rank||Amount per Student||Div III rank||# Varsity Athletes||Div III rank|
Eight (out of eleven) NESCAC schools rank in the top 20 of Division III for total athletic spending. With the exception of Connecticut College, all NESCAC schools rank in the top 10% of Division III for # of varsity athletes. Connecticut College athletic spending and # of varsity athletes are low because it does not have a football team. Tufts per-student athletic spending is low because it has nearly double the undergraduate population (5,100) of its nearest NESCAC rival (Wesleyan, with 2,700).
Related athletic conferences
NESCAC schools currently count four Major League Baseball general managers among their collective alumni.
- Ben Cherington (Amherst '96): General Manager of the Boston Red Sox
- Dan Duquette (Amherst '80): Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Baltimore Orioles
- Jed Hoyer (Wesleyan '96): Executive Vice President/General Manager of the Chicago Cubs, former General Manager of the San Diego Padres, and former Assistant General Manager of the Boston Red Sox
- Neal Huntington (Amherst '91): General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates
- Bill Smith (Hamilton '80): former General Manager of the Minnesota Twins
- Bill Belichick (Wesleyan '75): Head coach of four Super Bowl–winning New England Patriots teams
- John Bello (Tufts '68): Former President of NFL Properties, the marketing and commercial arm of the National Football League from 1979 to 1993. Named one of the most powerful people in sports by The Sporting News in 1992 (#46)
- Ethan Brooks (Williams '96): Professional football player (offensive tackle) for a number of teams until his retirement in 2005, and achieved his greatest success as a starter for the Baltimore Ravens
- Eric DeCosta (Colby '93): Assistant General Manager for the Baltimore Ravens, captain of the Colby football team during his senior year (and later received a M.A. from Trinity, where he coached football from 1993 to 1995).
- Jean Fugett (Amherst '72): Former tight end for the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins
- Steven Hauschka (Middlebury '07): Placekicker with the Seattle Seahawks
- Eric Mangini (Wesleyan '94): Current NFL analyst for ESPN, former head coach of the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, and former defensive coordinator for the Patriots
- Jeff Wilner (Wesleyan '94): Former tight end for the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos
- Guy Hebert (Hamilton '89): Professional ice hockey goaltender for the St. Louis Blues, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and New York Rangers. In addition to his NHL career, Hebert also was selected to the 1998 Olympic hockey team that represented the United States in Nagano, Japan.
- Tom Stillman (Middlebury '74): Chairman and CEO of the St. Louis Blues.