The Liberty League
Now that the fall recruitment travel season is over I can get to writing blogs on a regular basis. I am going to be posting a blog every Friday at the end of the day. While I certainly am not an expert in anything, I do have a strong knowledge of most sports. As a result, I will be covering all 24 NCAA sports here at RIT.
In my first blog entry for the 2009-2010 athletics season I would like to introduce everyone to the Liberty League. Currently, RIT is part of the Empire 8 conference, with the exception of the Division I men’s hockey program that plays in the Atlantic Hockey Association. RIT has been invited to join the LL starting in the 2011-2012 athletic season. Currently there are 13 members of the LL, with 10 universities being full time members and 3 being associate members. The full time members are Clarkson University, Hamilton College, Hobart College, RPI, University of Rochester, St. Lawrence University, Skidmore College, Union College, Vassar College, William Smith College. The associate members are U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, WPI, and Susquehanna University and only participate in the LL with their football programs. Bard College will be entering the LL with RIT in 2011-2012, while Hamilton College will be leaving the league at that same time. RIT will be joining the LL as a full time member.
The move makes sense for RIT in a plethora of different respects. The most obvious would be the congruity with other universities in the league that have one Division I intercollegiate sport. RPI, St. Lawrence University, Clarkson University and Union College all have Division I hockey programs, while Hobart has a Division I lacrosse program. The RIT hockey program makes the North Country swing every other year, while SLU and Clarkson come to the Ritter Arena during those alternate seasons. The RIT hockey program has yet to play RPI with both teams being at the Division I level. For personal reasons, I would love to see that happen! Not to mention the fact that RIT and RPI are in direct competition for their student bodies. It would make a great rivalry to say the least! This leads me to the other big reason why this move is a great one for RIT, the rivalries! I believe that the move to the Liberty League is going to attract more student participation in all of RIT’s Division III sports because of the rivalries this will create. The most obvious friendly rivalry will be with U of R. However, with almost all the universities being from NY in the LL, I think the whole league will have a fierce competitive atmosphere. As a result of all these factors and more that I have not had the chance to get to today, the move to the Liberty League is going to be exciting to say the least!
Next week’s blog will cover the Men’s Hockey team who are poised to break into the top 20 in the NCAA Division I rankings. Currently RIT is ranked 22nd in the nation after winning 8 straight games in AHA play. You can view the rankings at www.uscho.com. The team is traveling to Worcester, MA for a two game set with Holy Cross this weekend. If they can take both of those games, which is very likely considering RIT has never lost to Holy Cross at the Division I level; they have a great shot at cracking the top 20! They are going to need some help from Michigan and St. Cloud State this weekend to make this happen, but anything is possible! Tune in next week; it is possible that the Tigers will be in the top 20 rankings for the first time in school history.