The presidents of members of theNew England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) voted unanimously lastweek in Boston to a series of actions designed to strengthen the conference.

"We believe NESCAC is the preeminent Division III athletic conference in thecountry," said Hamilton President Eugene M. Tobin. "No other conference ofwhich I am aware does as good a job providing athletic excellence in thecontext of rigorous academic programs. The changes we have adopted willstrengthen that position even further." The resolutions, and a new NESCACmission statement, were passed unanimously by vote of the NESCAC presidents.The resolutions are designed to minimize the effect of post-season play onmember schools and to strengthen intraleague play.

The resolutions are as follows:

* The conference will evolve into a qualified playing conference within NCAADivision III in all sports eligible for that status, except football.

* Appropriate mechanisms will be created to determine a conference champion inall sports where that is practical.

* The conference will send only the conference champion to post-seasoncompetition in one venue deemed appropriate -- normally NCAA Division III.

* As soon as mechanisms are created to determine a conference champion in eachsport, NESCAC schools will cease participation in ECAC competition, except ininstances where ECAC competition is determined to be more appropriate than NCAAnational competition.

* These changes will lessen conflicts with academic schedules; the remainingconflicts with examinations and other academic priorities will be resolved byeach institution.

To help adopt the resolutions, a conference office will be established at oneof the NESCAC member schools. A conference coordinator will be hired forrecord-keeping, research, public information, and organization of specialstudies, both academic and athletic, among other duties.

Implementation of these resolutions is expected to take as long as threeyears. Athletic directors and the new conference coordinator will developmodels and timetables for the transition within coming months.

NESCAC member schools are Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College,Colby College, Connecticut College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College,Trinity College, Tufts University, Wesleyan University and Williams College.

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