PITMAN, N.J. – The Salisbury University football team will call a new conference home beginning in the 2015 season as the Sea Gulls will become associate members of the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
Salisbury makes the move with current Empire 8 Athletic Conference member Frostburg State University, USA South Athletic Conference member Christopher Newport University and football independents Southern Virginia University and Wesley College.
The teams will join Rowan University, The College of New Jersey, Montclair State University, William Paterson University and Kean University. The State University of New York at Cortland and Morrisville State College, currently NJAC members, will join the Empire 8 in 2015.
"The move to the New Jersey Athletic Conference brings an exciting new era in Salisbury University football," Salisbury Director of Athletics and Recreation Dr. Michael Vienna said. "We are looking forward to a great relationship with this outstanding organization."
The addition of the five schools will make the NJAC one of the strongest in the country. Five teams that will be playing in the league in 2015 have accounted for 10 NCAA tournament berths in the past three seasons.
"We are excited about joining the New Jersey Athletic Conference," Salisbury University Head Coach Sherman Wood said. "It is a league that has great tradition and outstanding competition and we look forward to becoming a part of that in 2015."
The move will allow Salisbury to keep its annual season-ending rivalry game, the Regents Cup contest, against Frostburg State University. The Sea Gulls and Bobcats have been conference members together since 1998 when both were members of the Atlantic Central Football Conference. The two teams made the move to the Empire 8 in 2011, where Salisbury has won two Empire 8 championships.
"The Empire 8 Athletic Conference is an organization that we have the utmost respect for and are honored to have had the relationship since 2011," Vienna said. "The institutions and administrators within the Empire 8 welcomed us with open arms and we thank them for all they've done for us over the past three years."
Salisbury has played Wesley College in each of the past 21 seasons and Christopher Newport in every season dating back to the beginning the Captains' football program in 2001.
Monday's announcement only affects football, as Salisbury's other 20 varsity sports will remain in the Capital Athletic Conference.
Click here to see the New Jersey Athletic Conference's press release.
Click here to visit the NJAC website.