The Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference will be the first Division III conference in the country to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Collegiate Bowling Championship tournament, effective with the 2018-19 season.
Bowling has been a championship sport in the AMCC since 2013-14. Sport sponsorship has doubled in size from an initial group of four to eight. Members include Mount Aloysisus College, Medaille College, Pitt-Bradford, Penn St. Altoona, Hilbert College, Penn St. Behrend, New Jersey City University (affiliate) and St. Vincent College (affiliate). The conference anticipates adding two more teams in 2019-20.
"Bowling is an extremely popular sport among high school girls in our geographic footprint of Western New York and Western Pennsylvania, so this is a logical sport for our league to sponsor," said AMCC Commissioner Donna Ledwin. "We are pleased to be able to offer them a national championship experience while attending a Division III institution."
Women's bowling is an association-wide championship, inclusive of all three NCAA divisions. Currently there are 34 Division I, 33 Division II and 16 Division III members who sponsor the sport. Division III rules require that a minimum of 40 members sponsor a women's sport before it can be a stand-alone divisional championship.
"We would like to be the catalyst for more Division III schools and conferences to add women's bowling," stated Ledwin, "but in the meantime we are proud and excited to carry the Division III banner at the national level."
The 2019 national championship tournament will be held April 11-13 in metropolitan Cleveland at Game of Wycliffe.