Hobart College Director of Athletics Mike Hanna ’68 and Eastern College Athletic Conference Commissioner Phil Buttafuoco ’83 announced this afternoon that beginning in 2005, the Statesmen—as well as Loyola (Md.) College and St. John’s University—will join the ECAC Lacrosse League. Hobart will compete in the Patriot League for the final time in 2004.
The ECAC Lacrosse League includes Georgetown University, Penn State University, the University of Massachusetts, and Rutgers University. The Statesmen are 39-35-1 (.527) against the ECAC member schools, but the only team Hobart has played more than nine times is Penn State—the Statesmen lead the series with the Nittany Lions 33-19-1.
“The ECAC will be a good fit for the Statesmen,” Hanna said. “The league, from top to bottom, is very competitive, and the travel schedule puts our program on display in several key recruiting areas.”
Hobart already plays Georgetown, Loyola, and Penn State, but will need to rearrange its schedule to accommodate the four other ECAC teams.
“We hope to retain our key rivalries, including several of the Patriot League teams,” Hanna said.
Added Hobart Head Coach Matt Kerwick ’90, “We’re excited and privileged to be a part of the best league in Division I lacrosse. When we decided to take the next step and elevate the Statesmen lacrosse program to Division I in 1995, it was to attract the top student-athletes in the country to Hobart College. The ECAC enables us to compete with and against the top programs in collegiate lacrosse, and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
The Patriot League announced in June 2002, a new strategic plan that eliminates associate memberships, except in football. The Statesmen have been associate members of the Patriot League since 2000. Prior to the 2000 season, Hobart competed as an independent. Over the past four seasons, the Statesmen have posted a 19-5 record against the League, twice winning the conference championship (2000, ’02).
While all of the members of the ECAC Lacrosse League offer athletics scholarships, Hobart will continue to be a non-scholarship program. Current NCAA rules dictate that teams competing in multiple divisions must adhere to the stricter rule of the two divisions. In this case, while Division I rules allow athletics scholarships, Division III rules forbid them, so Hobart lacrosse must follow Division III rules. However, the College does offer a competitive and comprehensive need-based financial aid program.
Perhaps the most storied lacrosse program in the nation, Hobart has played 101 lacrosse seasons and boasts an all-time record of 675-383-20. The Statesmen have won 16 national championships, including the first 12 contested in Division III. Hobart has made 24 NCAA Tournament appearances, including three since elevating its program to Division I (1998, 2000, ’02).