History of the SUNYAC

All-Time SUNYAC All-Conference Teams
All-Time SUNYAC Champions
NCAA Division III Individual Champions
NCAA Division III Team Champions
Post-Season Finishes


Throughout the 1950’s, collegiate athletic directors from a number of New York State institutions discussed the idea of forming an athletic conference. On a Sunday afternoon in Albany, May 1958, representatives from eight schools met for an organizational meeting and ratified a constitution. The second meeting was held at Cortland State Teachers College on September 19, 1958. This meeting marked the start of the New York State Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NYSIAC), which later was re-designated the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) in 1963.

Originally the league sought, among other things, to serve as a model for public school athletic organizations and to help strengthen the physical education programs of member institutions. By 1974-75, the SUNYAC voted to focus on its role of providing a program of intercollegiate athletic competition among its member schools. The governing body consisted of the athletic directors from each institution. In August, 1979 Commissioner Dr. Patrick R. Damore was appointed to administer the conference. In July 2012, after 33 years, Pat Damore retired and Azure Davey was named SUNYAC Commissioner. In July of 2013, Azure Davey resigned as Commissioner to pursue a position with the NCAA. Tom Di Camillo was named the SUNYAC Commissioner in January of 2014.

The conference governing body was composed of the athletic directors until 1983 when the women’s teams joined the conference. The governing body is now composed of the athletic directors, senior women administrators and an institutional delegate. In the beginning, the NYSIAC was open to any Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) member in New York State.

The charter members in 1958 included Albany, Brockport, Buffalo State, Cortland, New Paltz, Oneonta, Oswego, Plattsburgh and Potsdam. The following year, Geneseo and Fredonia joined the league. In 1973-74 Binghamton, 1978-79 SUNY Buffalo and 1991 SUNY Utica/Rome, which is currently known as SUNYIT joined the conference. Over the years, a few member schools have withdrawn for limited periods of time from the conference. Today, 10 institutions excluding Albany, SUNY Buffalo, Binghamton, and SUNYIT continue to compete in the SUNYAC. Morrisville joined the league as an associate member in 2009-10 for the sports of field hockey and ice hockey.

One of the nation’s strongest NCAA Division III conferences, the SUNYAC extended its athletic prowess in 1983 when the institutions women’s programs became part of the SUNYAC. The conference administrative organization was changed to include a women’s division and a men’s division with the governing body composed of representatives from each institution. In 2003 the conference reorganized the governing structure and eliminated the men’s and women’s division to become one administrative group. The executive committee had a President, President-Elect, the Past President, the conference Senior Women’s Administrator, a member of the governing body at large and the commissioner as an ex-officio member up until May of 2011 when the committee was eliminated.

Presently, the conference members compete in 20 sports: nine for men and eleven for women. In 2013-14, the SUNYAC will crown men’s team champions in baseball, basketball, cross country, ice hockey, indoor & outdoor track, lacrosse, soccer and swimming/diving. During the year, the league will also offer women’s championships in basketball, cross country, field hockey, indoor & outdoor track, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis and volleyball.

No strangers to NCAA post season tournaments; the SUNYAC membership boasts a number of national championship teams and countless All-Americans. In 1955, Brockport brought the SUNYAC its first NCAA championship in men’s soccer and again in 1974. In 1973, Cortland brought the next championship in men’s lacrosse and won the title again in 1975, 2006 and 2009. Brockport’s wrestling dynasty produced NCAA titles in 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983 and 1992, while SUNY Buffalo captured the title in 1978. The Potsdam men’s basketball team won the national championship in 1981 and 1986. The SUNYAC ice hockey program provided two NCAA Division III finalists in 1987 when Plattsburgh defeated Oswego. Plattsburgh also won the title in 1992 and in 2001 and Oswego claimed the 2007 NCAA title. The Cortland outdoor track squad in 1985 gave the SUNYAC its first women’s national championship team. The Cortland women’s cross country team produced seven more titles between 1989 and 1997 and Geneseo won the NCAA title in 2005. Cortland women’s indoor track captured the NCAA title in 1991. Cortland women’s soccer team won the NCAA title in 1992. Cortland’s field hockey team won the NCAA title in 1993, 1994 and 2001. The Oneonta women’s soccer team claimed the NCAA title in 2003. The Cortland men’s cross country team won the championship in 2008. In 2015 the Cortland Red Dragons won the women's lacrosse and baseball NCAA titles. 

One of the oldest small college conferences in the nation, the SUNYAC embarks upon its sixth decade with the same commitment to athletic and academic excellence that has remained the league’s guiding light since its formation in 1958.