Brockport’s Lena Turaj (25) slides at Cardinal Sally Gilganic (14) in their last in-SUNYAC regular-season matchup ever Sept. 23.
By Mikai Bruce
SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Brockport are officially leaving the SUNYAC conference and heading for the Empire 8 conference in a move that has sent shockwaves throughout the SUNY collegiate athletics world. They are leaving the conference and are being replaced by SUNY Canton and SUNY Morrisville, and this move will have major implications for SUNY Plattsburgh.
SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Brockport have long been members of the SUNYAC conference and they have cultivated many rivalries and built a winning culture within the conference at their institutions. They left to explore a conference that will be more competitive for them and in doing so they made the SUNYAC an easier landscape for SUNY Plattsburgh.
“We were obviously very disappointed to see Brockport and Geneseo leave the SUNYAC. The conference has been in existence for over 50 years and they’ve been great competitors. That being said, I’m very happy to be welcoming Morrisville and Canton into the league. Both of them are excited about this opportunity and Canton offers us another great, North Country rivalry,” Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Mike Howard said.
This move has non-competition implications as well. Because Canton and Morrisville are joining, it will mean less travel for SUNY Plattsburgh which directly leads to reduced travel costs for Plattsburgh athletic teams.
“It’s a shame for two very good teams to leave. We have a lot of history and rivalry with both teams. They are games we enjoy playing. But change has to happen sometimes and budgets, travel and other things dictate these things. It’s a bit of an unknown having two new teams join so we will see how it changes the landscape of the conference. Our league is one of the best in the country at the moment so it’s important for us to stay competitive from top to bottom,” Head Men’s Soccer Coach Chris Taylor said.
A change like this surely brings a mystery element to the schedule and a hint of excitement as well. To be able to form new rivalries and memories with new teams brings a fresh feeling to the conference that was well-needed.
“Morrisville has been in the SUNYAC hockey conference for 15 years. The addition of Canton makes sense as a league. They have been very competitive as an independent team and I feel they will continue to improve now that they are in a conference. It’s great for the North Country to have another college hockey team in the SUNYAC. I’m disappointed that Brockport and Geneseo are no longer with us. The rivalries were intense with both teams and we will miss them,” Head Men’s Ice Hockey Coach Steve Moffat said.
One of the most successful athletic programs at SUNY Plattsburgh gets to battle with a new program, Canton, that has had success of its own and this will make for a great rivalry here in the North Country.
Change is often necessary in order to progress, and it is no different when it comes to the SUNYAC. With these changes in the SUNYAC there will be plenty of opportunities for Plattsburgh to return to the success it has had in this conference throughout multiple sports.