PSAC invites Gannon, Mercyhurst to be full members

C.W. Post can participate as an associate member.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference invited Gannon and Mercyhurst to join its ranks Monday as full-time members and C.W. Post to join as an associate member, the conference’s first bid to expand since forming in 1951.

The bold expansion effort could redefine the makeup of what had been an affiliation of 14 state-owned Pennsylvania colleges. Should the schools accept the bids, as expected, they would be the first private institutions to join the PSAC.

C.W. Post, based in Brookville, N.Y., would also become the first non-Pennsylvania school to enter the conference. Gannon and Mercyhurst, both in Erie, would give the PSAC a foothold in northwestern Pennsylvania, to go with Edinboro.

The schools have two weeks to officially accept the offer.

“It’s pretty historic. It’s definitely a change. There are some folks out there who might be a little nervous,” said commissioner Steve Murray, who is based in Lock Haven. “Suddenly, we got private schools with state schools.”

Some are upset

But Murray said the transition would probably be smoother on the field than among some fans wary about upsetting the tradition of an all-Pennsylvania public-school conference.

Presidents of the current member schools appear to be satisfied after voting unanimously to extend the invitations following several months of research and talks.

In addition to Edinboro, the other current PSAC schools are: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.

The new schools could begin PSAC play as early as 2008. C.W. Post, which is a campus of Long Island University, would be PSAC members in just football and field hockey.

The additions would allow the conference to go to divisional play in several sports, which would help cut down on travel expenses, Murray said, allowing teams to stay closer to home for games and allow students to miss less class time.

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