The AMCC is proud to announce the addition of three affiliate members in the sport of men's volleyball, bringing the total teams to eight, and allowing for the conference to fully sponsor the sport by 2018-19. Hiram College will join the conference effective for the 2017-18 academic year, with Thiel College and Wittenberg University joining in the 2018-19 season. Due to the NCAA-mandated two-year waiting period of sponsoring a sport before earning an automatic bid to the national tournament, the AMCC will not be granted the automatic bid until the 2020-21 season.
"We are celebrating our twentieth anniversary in 2016-17 and this is a great example of the way the AMCC continues to grow to meet the needs of our student-athletes," remarked commissioner Donna Ledwin. The conference will also be expanding with two more teams in women's bowling as well--Hilbert College and Penn St. Behrend are adding teams in 2017-18--and will be the first Division III conference to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA national championship tournament in 2018-19.
2017-18 will mark the first season for the Hiram men's volleyball program, becoming the college's 15th varsity sport. The Terriers competed at the club level in 2016-17 and will be moving to varsity status for the upcoming academic year. They will be led by the program's first-ever head coach, Kyle Mars.
"Hiram is very excited about adding men's volleyball and looking forward to our relationship with the AMCC," stated Hiram Athletic Director Ellen Dempsey. "The AMCC has a great core of men's volleyball programs and Hiram is pleased to be an affiliate member."
Thiel currently competes in the Continental Volleyball Conference, where they went 5-9 this past season, and 11-15 overall. Led by head coach Adam Roche, the Tomcats will be ready to fully transition to the AMCC for the 2018-19 season. They are already familiar with many AMCC teams, as they faced off against Medaille College, Hilbert College, Penn State Behrend, Penn State Altoona, and future AMCC men's volleyball member Wittenberg in 2017.
"We are excited for our men's volleyball program to be joining the AMCC, especially for our student-athletes as this will greatly benefit them as less travel will be required to compete," stated Thiel Athletic Director Amy Schafer. "Thiel is fortunate to be able to grow a relationship with a conference that it already has ties to. We are eager for the opportunity to compete in the AMCC in 2018."
Wittenberg, currently a member of the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League, will be prepared by the fall of 2018 to fully transfer to the AMCC. The Tigers finished 14-18 overall, and 9-10 in league play, in 2017. They competed against AMCC-members Hilbert College and Penn State Altoona, and future member Thiel this past season.
"Wittenberg University is excited to be selected by the AMCC presidents to join as an affiliate member in the sport of men’s volleyball," stated Wittenberg Athletic Director Gary Williams. "We believe that as an affiliate member for men’s volleyball the AMCC is a great fit for us as an institution, athletic department, and men’s volleyball program and we are very much looking forward to working with this great group of schools."