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In 1955, the first NESCAC agreement emerged in a draft between Bowdoin College and the three “Little Ivies”, Amherst College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College. It was not until 1971 that Bates, Colby, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity, Tufts, and Union entered the conference. All 11 school presidents controlled the conference, bringing together and overseeing sports in an academic setting. These schools pledged their commitment to athletics with the importance of maintaining academic excellence as their primary value. Although academics were Middlebury’s main focus, concerns of high costs also emerged with any suggestions of expanding the college’s athletic program. Joining the NESCAC, however, would allow Middlebury to play competitive schools within the New England area and, as The Campus wrote in 1971, “keep expenses down while still maintaining a challenging and worthwhile program”. The NESCAC was a perfect fit academically, athletically, and according to the article at the time, financially.

1971 NESCAC Econ Incentives

A editorial clip from “The Campus” in 1971, the year Middlebury officially joined NESCAC

1971-72 Athletic Policy

Middlebury’s College Handbook Athletic Policy First Mentions our Involvement in the NESCAC

Along with the economic benefits, Middlebury’s participation in the NESCAC allowed the college to compete against schools of a similar size. According to Tom Lawson, who served as the school’s Athletic Director from 1977-1997, schools were originally divided into University and College divisions, under which Middlebury served as a University, and played larger schools such as Harvard and Brown. Joining the NESCAC allowed Middlebury to now play smaller schools with similar academic values and athletic abilities, while also adding guaranteed games to each sport’s schedule. While Athletic Directors previously had to bargain  with a variety of schools to fill game slots for each sport, the conference added a sense of scheduling stability for both administrators and athletes.

1958 - MGolf Championship pre-NESCAC

1957 Golf Championship against Larger Schools such as Harvard, Dartmouth, and the University of Massachusetts

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