Lock Haven, PA – The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and Seton Hill University have accepted invitations to join the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference as full-time members. Both schools, currently members of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, will begin their full-time membership in the PSAC on July 1, 2013 and will begin competition as PSAC members during the 2013-14 academic year.

“Given the recent announcement of several schools planning to leave the WVIAC after this year, we felt the time was right to consider Pitt-Johnstown and Seton Hill as full-time members of the PSAC,” said PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray. “Our Board of Directors was unanimous in its support for adding both schools. This addition will strengthen us as a conference and within the region. It will open up more scheduling and competition opportunities while staying within the NCAA Division II regional-based competition model. We are excited to move forward with Pitt-Johnstown and Seton Hill as members beginning next year.”

The addition of the two schools, which are located approximately 50 miles apart from each other in Southwestern Pennsylvania, will bring the PSAC to 18 full-time members. Barring any subsequent changes, the league is projected to become the NCAA’s largest conference in terms of membership beginning in 2013-14.It is currently among five conferences (Great Lakes Intercollegiate, Great Lakes Valley, Northeast 10 and Northern Sun) which serve a 16-school membership to rank atop the Division II level.

Both Pitt-Johnstown and Seton Hill will compete in the WVIAC for the upcoming 2012-13 season before departing for the PSAC. Seton Hill is already an associate member of the PSAC in the sport of field hockey, having joined the league in that sport for the 2011 season.

This marks just the second time in the 61-year history of the PSAC that the conference has expanded its full-time membership. The league’s current full-time members are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Gannon, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Mercyhurst, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester. Of that group, 14 were charter members – Gannon and Mercyhurst joined the PSAC for the 2008-09 season, which marked the first time that the conference expanded. Prior to 2008, the only variation to the membership came in the mid-1980s when West Chester explored a move to Division I.

“Adding Seton Hill and Pitt-Johnstown makes sense for us as a conference on so many different levels,” said Dr. David L. Soltz, President of Bloomsburg University and chair of the PSAC Board of Directors. “Both are outstanding academic institutions and their history of success will fit in nicely with our current philosophies of balancing academics and athletics. The schools’locations will also enable us to ensure more conference competition with less travel and less missed class time. This is a win-win situation for both the schools and the conference.”

The PSAC will also remain first among Division II conferences with its sponsorship of 23 sports and team championships. Seton Hill sponsors 19 of the league’s 23 sports while Pitt-Johnstown adds competition in 12.

Further details that relate to the addition of Pitt-Johnstown and Seton Hill, such as divisional setup, scheduling and conference championship composition and format for various sports, will be determined at a later date.

NOTES
– All of the PSAC’s full-time members will be located within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

– The Middle Atlantic Conferences in Division III currently have 18 members, however they are divided into two separate conferences that compete for two automatic NCAA bids in most sports, making them effectively two separate conferences under a single conference office umbrella. The PSAC will be the largest conference in the NCAA that competes for a single NCAA automatic berth in most sports.

About the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference
Originating in 1951 to administer and promote men’s athletics, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference has evolved into one of the NCAA’s most heralded intercollegiate conferences. The first major step came in 1977, when based on a growing interest, the league reorganized to provide a structure for its women’s programs. Only three years later, lacking a standard competitive division, league voted to reclassify the entire conference to NCAA Division II.

The membership currently consists of 16 full-time institutions and the associate members Seton Hill University and Long Island University – Post.All of the league’s full-time members are located within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which makes the PSAC the largest one-state conference in the NCAA. The league has also grown to share the distinctions as: The largest conference in Division II, the largest football-playing conference in the NCAA, and, with 23, the conference that sponsors the most championships at the Division II level.

Highly competitive on a regional and national level, PSAC schools annually combine to send nearly one-third of its teams into NCAA postseason play. Ultimately, the membership’s success has yielded 45 NCAA team and 254 individual title winners. While proud of its athletic accomplishments, the league also has evolved into one of Division II’s finest from an academic standpoint. Today, over one-third of the PSAC’s estimated 6,300 participants are honored each year as “Scholar-Athletes” for maintaining a grade-point average of 3.25 or better -a total that has tripled since PSAC Scholar-Athletes were first recognized in the mid-1990s.

Although all 16 current institutions are members of Division II, five league schools also compete at the Division I level in select sports. PSAC schools enroll over 129,000 students and claim over 750,000 alumni, including 500,000 who reside in Pennsylvania. The PSAC is governed by the presidents of the 16 member institutions. It employs a commissioner, an associate and assistant commissioner, and a director of media relations at its headquarters in Lock Haven, Pa.

About the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown
Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, Pitt-Johnstown is located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. With approximately 3,000 students, the University offers a high-quality educational experience in a supportive living-learning environment designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College,” by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and Pennsylvania Business Central as a “Top 100 Organization” for 2011. Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

About Seton Hill University
A coeducational Catholic university located in Greensburg, Pa., Seton Hill embraces students of all faiths and offers more than 80 undergraduate programs, 10 graduate programs, an Adult Degree Program and many advanced certifications.Seton Hill also sponsors 21 intercollegiate athletic programs. Seton Hill, founded in 1885 and coeducational since 2002, offers students the benefit of a long history of educational excellence in the liberal arts. As a national leader in incorporating mobile technologies into teaching and learning, Seton Hill also supplies graduates with the skills they need to adapt to whatever careers they choose – even those that have yet to be created.