Liberty League starts this fall

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The RIT athletics program will begin its first year as a member of the Liberty League in September.

Nineteen of RIT’s 24 intercollegiate sports will make the move from the Empire 8 Conference.

“We’re delighted to welcome RIT into the Liberty League,” says Jim McLaughlin, Liberty League president and director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. “RIT shares the ideals of the Liberty League in terms of student-first philosophy and approaching intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the overall educational experience. We look forward to the contributions that RIT will make to the league, both academically and athletically.”

A member conference of the NCAA’s Division III, the Liberty League has nine full members and sponsors championships in 24 sports. The member institutions of the league place a high priority on the overall quality of the educational experience and on the successful completion of its student-athletes’ academic programs.

“The acceptance into the Liberty League for all of our Division III sports is wonderful news on the campus, particularly for our scholar athletes,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “RIT fits in very well with the intercollegiate athletic philosophy of the other Liberty League institutions.”

Originally founded as the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association in 1995, the conference was renamed the Liberty League in 2004. The league includes founding members Clarkson University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the University of Rochester, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, St. Lawrence University, Skidmore College and Union College. Vassar College became a full member of the league in 2000-2001, while Bard College and RIT are joining in the 2011-2012 season. RIT was formerly a member of the Independent College Athletic Conference from 1964-1991, which consisted of several current Liberty League schools. In 1991, RIT moved to the Empire Athletic Association, which became the Empire 8 in 2000.