GENEVA, N.Y.—The Hobart College men’s lacrosse program will begin looking for a new league to compete in after receiving word that the Patriot League Council of Presidents approved a recommendation to discontinue associate memberships in sports other than football by June, 2004.
At the recent Patriot League annual meetings, the Directors of Athletics forwarded a strategic membership plan that was adopted by the Council of Presidents. The Statesmen will continue to compete in the PL for two more seasons.
“The Council of Presidents believe that the best interests of the membership is to direct our energy and resources toward our eight full-member institutions,” Patriot League Executive Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich said.
Hobart is one of three institutions with associate memberships in the Patriot League that does not play football. The others are Fairfield University (field hockey) and Villanova University (women’s lacrosse). Ursinus College (field hockey) also competed in the Patriot League for six seasons, but that association was discontinued after the 2001 season.
Patriot League officials told Hobart Director of Athletics Mike Hanna the decision did not reflect on the Statesmen or their success in the League. “Hobart has fielded a strong program consistent with the goals and ideals of the Patriot League and other NCAA Division I institutions,” Femovich said. “Hobart’s program, staff, and facilities have reflected a strong commitment to Division I lacrosse.”
Hobart joined the Patriot League as an associate member in lacrosse in 2000. The Statesmen have placed 11 players on the All-Patriot League first-team, including 2000 PL Player of the Year Jamie Breslin. Over the past three seasons, no other team has had as many first-team selections. Bucknell is second with eight. Hanna, in conjunction with 2002 Patriot League Coach of the Year Matt Kerwick, will begin exploring the program’s options in the coming months.
“Because of our current stature and the storied tradition of Hobart lacrosse, we expect to hear from other leagues,” Hanna said. “As schools adjust to the relatively new workings of automatic qualifying, I expect several leagues will go through realignments and some new leagues will emerge.
“While we’re disappointed with the decision, we’re not entirely surprised. Our objective will be to find the best fit for our student-athletes.”
The Patriot League is the first conference affiliation for the Hobart lacrosse team since the early 1970s. The Statesmen have won 16 national championships (13 Division III, 2 Division II, 1 USILA). The program moved to Division I in 1995, a move the administration, coaching staff, and student-athletes remain committed to.
Full-member institutions of the PL, all competing on the NCAA Division I level, include American University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, U.S. Military Academy (Army), and U.S. Naval Academy (Navy). Fordham University, Georgetown University, and Towson University also compete in the PL as associate members for football.