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While Connecticut College did not join the NESCAC until 1982, their addition was not the conference’s only change since it’s formation in 1971. In the the Spring of 1977, Union College decided to withdraw from the NESCAC. Although the College formally left in 1977, signs of its tumultuous relationship with fellow conference members, especially Middlebury, surfaced in 1976. In February of 1976, Middlebury College president Olin Robinson announced he would “drop” Union from the school’s hockey schedule “for the ‘foreseeable future’”. Not only was the Middlebury hockey team “treated unfairly” at a game hosted at Union, but suspicions involving illegal recruiting emerged in addition to allegations that Union was not in tune with the NESCAC’s “academics first and athletics second” motto.

1976 -Robinson Removes Union

An Article From the Middlebury Campus Reporting on Union’s Withdrawal from the NESCAC

1976 - Union letter Robinson to Bonner

Letter from Middlebury President Olin Robinson to Union President Thomas Bonner Announcing Union’s Removal from the Middlebury Men’s Ice Hockey Schedule

1976 - Union Bonner to Robinson Letter

Union’s Thomas Bonner and his Disappointed Response to Middlebury’s Actions

Union College’s Board of Trustees announced Union’s formal withdrawal on May 18, 1977. In the statement, they agreed to keep President Thomas Bonner, Midd ‘45, along with the “principles of NESCAC and the highest standards of integrity”, but decided “to remain Division II in hockey competition”. Union’s decision to leave the conference was strongly influenced by the College’s allegiance to the hockey team and it’s continued growth and success. While Bonner stated, “Union would neither offer athletic scholarships nor allow admittance to student-athletes who did not have a realistic chance for athletic success”, the Dean of Admissions allegedly admitted that “several athletes who did not qualify academically” were enrolled because of athletics. Needless to say, these allegations did not coincide with the NESCAC’s mission statement, and Union was now in it’s own independent athletic conference.

Union leaves NESCAC

An Article From the Schenectady Gazette Reporting on Union’s Withdrawal from the NESCAC

Click here to view photos from the 1970s


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