Sea Gulls set to join Empire 8 athletic conference
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Effective in the fall 2011, the Salisbury University football program will become an associate member of the Empire 8 athletic conference. The Sea Gulls will be one of two programs added as associate members, as Frostburg State University will also join the Empire 8.
For football, the Empire 8 conference is made up of five full-time members in Alfred University, Hartwick College, Ithaca College, St. John Fisher College and Utica College. SU and FSU will join associate member Springfield College to bring the total number of schools to eight.
"We are excited on becoming a member of such a prestigious and highly competitive football conference," said Salisbury University athletic director, Dr. Michael Vienna. "This affiliation will provide our football student-athletes the opportunity to have a full conference schedule and to compete against some of the finest Division III institutions and football programs in the nation."
The Empire 8 will consist of five New York schools, two Maryland institutions and one from Massachusetts. The eight members of the conference will maintain the conference's automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament, which Ithaca claimed in 2008.
"It is with great honor that Salisbury University joins the elite group of administrators, coaches and student-athletes of the Empire 8," said SU head football coach, Sherman Wood.
In addition to scheduling benefits and the competitive experience of conference play, the conference will provide a full awards program including weekly and post-season honors.
"We look forward to the 2011 season with great anticipation as we enter into what will become a new chapter in Salisbury football," Vienna said.
The Sea Gull football program is 3-1 all-time against members of the Empire 8 as they defeated Ithaca 44-40 on December 6, 1986 in the NCAA Semifinals to make the program's first ever appearance in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. The Sea Gulls split the all-time series with Alfred as they won 28-21 on September 12, 1998 and lost 20-13 on September 11, 1999, in Wood's first season as head coach. The Sea Gulls will square off against E8 member St. John Fisher this season on September 26 at noon at Sea Gull Stadium after they defeated the Cardinals last season, 58-52 in four overtimes on October 11 Rochester, N.Y.
"The conference is well respected and very competitive both on and off the field," Wood said. "On behalf of our staff and students, I would like to thank the Empire 8 for inviting Salisbury Football into one of the most competitive conferences in the nation."
The members of the Empire 8 are committed first and foremost to
the pursuit of academic excellence and aspire to be regarded as an
outstanding NCAA Division III conference. The membership seeks to
distinguish itself among its peer group for its quality
institutions, spirited and sportsmanlike competition, outstanding
services, and highly ethical policies and practices. Its commitment
to serve the educational needs of its student-athletes is the
hallmark of the