By CHRIS MACKOWIAK
Featured photo: The Salisbury and Frostburg State men’s basketball teams clash during the 2017-18 season. Hannah Wichrowski photo
Amid many rumors on the future of a Salisbury University rival over the last few months, NCAA Division II’s Mountain East Conference (MEC) confirmed many of those whispers yesterday. Frostburg State has accepted an invitation to make the move to Division II with the MEC.
The MEC Board of Directors unanimously approved the move on June 30. Via a conference press release, Frostburg will be announced as a provisional member during a press conference on July 12.
Contingent on Frostburg’s acceptance as a Division II member by the NCAA, Frostburg would start competition in the MEC during the 2019-20 academic year if everything goes according to plan. While the spotlight is on Frostburg’s successful football program in the NJAC, the greatest impact of this move will be felt by the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC).
Frostburg State is the third member institution of the CAC to announce their departure from the conference in the last year. The Bobcats join Marymount University (Va.) and Wesley College as departing schools as the Saints and Wolverines are slated to be inaugural members of the new Atlantic East Conference this fall.
The move by the western Maryland institution leaves the CAC with seven member institutions for the coming 2019-20 academic year. Southern Virginia already has aimed to join the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) for football competition in the 2019 season.
The CAC’s future seven members include: Christopher Newport, Mary Washington, Penn State-Harrisburg, St. Mary’s (Md.), Salisbury, Southern Virginia and York (Pa.). With the ongoing uncertain within the CAC, various rumors have circulated about certain institutions looking at several options. None of those reports can be confirmed at this time.
UPDATE: In the days following Frostburg State’s announced departure, Penn State – Harrisburg also announced their decision to leave the CAC. The Lions will return to the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) starting in the 2019-20 academic year.
The CAC now only has six full-time members including Christopher Newport, Mary Washington, St. Mary’s (Md.), Salisbury, Southern Virginia and York (Pa.). Falling one member short of the NCAA requirement, the CAC would lose their automatic bid into NCAA Tournaments starting in the 2021-22 academic year.
This report will be updated as more information becomes available on the CAC and the recent departures.