GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – For the second year in a row, the Penn State Abington Nittany Lions won the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Presidents’ Cup, which has taken on a much different look this year.
The NEAC established a new approach to awarding its Presidents’ Cup this year in an effort to truly reflect the core values of NCAA Division III. In addition to calculating athletics success, which was the only factor taken into consideration when awarding the conference’s Presidents’ Cup in the past, the NEAC also took into account three new criteria: academics, sportsmanship and community service.
These three new categories along with athletics success will now each have their own sub-cup winners. Each of the NEAC’s 14 full-member institutions were given a ranking based on their results from each category, with the total rankings from all four then being added together to determine the overall winner, who is then crowned the overall Presidents’ Cup honoree. The lower the overall score, the better the rank.
This new and unique approach to determine the NEAC Presidents’ Cup winner looks to be the first model of its kind across all 43 NCAA Division III conferences.
"I am very proud of the initial success and results of our new Presidents' Cup Award and especially the unique elements of each of the additional sub-cups,” said NEAC Commissioner Candice Murray. “The NEAC Presidents’ Cup now truly represents the essence of an NCAA Division III student-athlete experience. We highlight the many outstanding accomplishments on each of our campuses and really highlight what Division III is all about. Every campus now has an opportunity to showcase their many strengths, as demonstrated this year by Penn State Abington."
In addition to winning what is now referred to as the Athletics Directors’ Cup for its success in athletics, Penn State Abington also won the new Senior Woman Administrators’ Cup that represents community service. Those two victories, combined with eighth-place finishes in both academics and sportsmanship, helped Abington capture the brand new version of the NEAC Presidents’ Cup.
“We are so proud of our student-athletes for earning the college its second Presidents' Cup in a row,” exclaimed Penn State Abington Chancellor Dr. Karen Wiley Sandler. “In addition to their athletic achievement, this year's Presidents’ Cup reflected a larger view of our students' accomplishments, because for the first time achieving the Presidents' Cup required commitment to academic success, community service, and sportsmanship in addition to athletics success.”
The Four New Sub-Cups
The Athletics Directors’ Cup is awarded for athletics success, which is based on each institution’s overall winning percentage from the past academic year. This percentage is calculated through a points system that takes into account each school’s finish in the final regular season standings for each team sport and the championship finish for each individual sport sponsored within the NEAC. In addition to winning the overall Athletics Directors’ Cup, Abington also won the men’s athletics success cup after its men’s programs earned 42.5 out of a possible 52 points for a winning percentage of .817. The Abington women’s programs finished third with a .736 winning percentage, leaving the Nittany Lions first overall with 95.5 earned points out of a possible 124 points for a combined winning percentage of .770 across their 13 NEAC-sponsored sports. The women’s athletics success cup was won by Keuka College for the second year in a row and seventh time overall after the Wolfpack earned 56 out of a possible 70 points to garner a winning percentage of .800. Keuka also placed fourth on the men’s side to finish second overall with a .721 winning percentage.
For the Senior Woman Administrators’ Cup, each institution submitted their results from 2014-15 community service activities that included the following criteria: 1) total dollars raised; 2) total number of participants; 3) total number of volunteer hours; and 4) total number of community members impacted. The senior woman administrator (SWA) from each institution then voted blindly for the top half of schools on the success of their community service based on the abovementioned criteria, with SWAs not being allowed to vote for their own institution. Each institution also received a ranking based on the best score in each of those four categories, with those rankings then being added together along with the ranking from the SWA voting to produce a total score. The lowest score represented the best score, which Abington claimed after tallying a point total of eight behind first-place finishes in both the SWA voting and total dollars raised along with second-place rankings in the other three categories. Keuka College claimed second overall after topping the rankings for both the total number of participants and the total number of community members impacted en route to a final score of 14.
For academics, known as the Faculty Athletic Representatives’ Cup, two rankings were taken into account: 1) an institution’s two-semester grade point average for all of its student-athletes that competed in NEAC-sponsored sports during 2014-15; and 2) the percentage of 2014-15 NEAC Scholar-Athletes within that school’s total number of student-athletes. Those two rankings were then added together for a total score, with the lower the total, the better the overall rank. Penn State Berks was the inaugural winner of the Faculty Athletic Representatives’ Cup after ranking second in both GPA average and scholar-athlete percentage for a total of four points. The College of Saint Elizabeth finished second with five total points after topping all schools in GPA average and placing fourth in scholar-athlete percentage. Wells College placed third overall after also being third in each of the two rankings, while Gallaudet University topped the scholar-athlete percentage rankings en route to finishing fourth overall.
For the sportsmanship criteria, labeled the Direct Reports’ Cup, the conference coaches for each sport voted on the level of sportsmanship that was exhibited during the season. In sports with a sponsorship of more than six, coaches voted for the top-half of teams excluding their own, while ranking all teams but their own in sports with a sponsorship of six or less.* The higher the number of votes received, the better the score for that team. Scores across all sports were then added together, with the total score being divided by the total number of sports sponsored by the institution. All institutions were ranked by those average scores, with the highest average score representing the best sportsmanship across the conference. That honor went to Lancaster Bible College, with the Chargers taking home the first Direct Reports’ Cup behind a total average score of 30.308. Gallaudet University placed second with a 25.200 average, followed by SUNY Cobleskill in third with an average of 24.667.
*Note: The coaches for men’s tennis, which has a sponsorship of six teams, voted for the top-four teams to equal the amount voted for on the women’s side, which has a sponsorship of eight teams.
Overall NEAC Presidents’ Cup Results
A year after claiming the preceding version of the NEAC Presidents’ Cup, Penn State Abington also captured this year’s award with an overall score of 18. Both Keuka College and Penn State Berks finished tied for second in the overall NEAC Presidents’ Cup standings after each totaled 22 points. Wells College finished just below them in fourth place with 22.5 points, while Lancaster Bible College claimed fifth place with 24 points. Gallaudet University placed sixth with 25 points, with Morrisville State College and SUNY Cobleskill sharing seventh place after totaling 26 points apiece.
“We also congratulate Penn State Berks and Keuka College for tying for second place,” added Penn State Abington Chancellor Dr. Karen Wiley Sandler. “As always, our students lead us through their example and their achievement and we are very proud of them.”
To view the full results for the four new sub-cups and the overall Presidents’ Cup, please click here.
The North Eastern Athletic Conference has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University - Abington, Pennsylvania State University - Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M Lacrosse & M Volleyball), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse & M Volleyball), Penn State Altoona (M Volleyball) and Rutgers University - Camden (M Golf). The North Eastern Athletic Conference has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of men’s and women’s tennis.