SUNY Cortland Football Leaving NJAC Conference, Joining Empire 8 in 2015
The SUNY Cortland football program is set to undergo some big changes, the college is leaving the the New Jersey Athletic Conference and is joining the Empire 8 conference. The change will pit Cortland against arch rival Ithaca and other well known Upstate Colleges.
Begininning next year the Red Dragons will join the Empire 8 Conference as an affiliate member. The Red Dragons will join The College at Brockport, Buffalo State, Frostburg State and Salisbury University as affiliate an football member. Full members of the conference include Ithaca College, St. John Fisher, Alfred University, Utica and Hartwick College.
Cortland has been a football-only member of the NJAC since 2000 and will play its final season in the conference this fall.
Cortland has tied for first place in the NJAC six of the last nine years, and claimed the conference tittle in 2008 and 2012 and won a tiebreaker to earn the league's NCAA automatic bid in 2010.
SUNY Cortland Football Coach Dan MacNeill who is preparing for his 18th season as the Red Dragons coach says he has enjoyed his time in the NJAC and looks forward to the new opportunities and challenges that will come with the move to the Empire 8.
MacNeill acknowledged that the change is likely to place an even greater emphasis on the Cortaca match between Cortland and Ithaca College, Currently the game is a non-conference meeting and has no bearing on either schools league standing. MacNeill is also confident that issues surrounding the game will be resolved prior to the move.
MacNeill also agreed that the move to the Empire 8 could help bolster Cortland's fan base as the road games will be closer to home.
MacNeill says he looks forward to a year of goodbyes, he says he is ' humbled and appreciative to have been a part of this great conference and tradition.