The Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference announced the addition of men's volleyball beginning the 2018 season (2017-18 academic year).
The NACC Council of Chief Executive Officers unanimously endorsed the addition of men's volleyball as the league's 19th championship sport. This marks the first time since 2008 when football was added that the NACC has expanded its sports sponsorship.
"This is a very exciting time for the NACC as we are adding men's volleyball to our core sports," NACC Commissioner Steve Larson said. "It signifies the importance our administrators and institutions place on the commitment to our student-athletes to provide a quality experience based upon our core values and mission."
The NACC will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship in 2018, the ninth league with a 'Pool A' bid or commonly referred to as an AQ. The NCAA has crowned five champions at the men's Division III level, the first which came in 2012.
Five member institutions currently sponsor the sport -- Benedictine University, Dominican University, Lakeland University, Marian University and Milwaukee School of Engineering -- while spring of 2018 will serve as the inaugural season for both Aurora University and Concordia University Wisconsin, bringing NACC membership to seven.
The teams bring strong pedigrees to the conference as the AVCA Coaches' Poll has a pair of NACC members in the national ranking. MSOE (18-8 in 2016) is ranked 12th and Dominican (17-9) is ranked 13th in the 2017 preseason poll. The Raiders held their highest-ever ranking at 10th last March, the Stars were up to No. 7 in the same month while Lakeland earned a No. 5 ranking during the 2014 season.
The conference's Director of Athletics Standing Committee and men's volleyball coaches are already in the process of creating policies for the sport.
The NACC began its first season of competition in the fall of 2006, then known as the Northern Athletics Conference. The conference consists of 12 private colleges and universities from the shared-border states of Illinois and Wisconsin, all of which are NCAA Division III members.
The members of the NACC include Alverno College, Aurora University, Benedictine University, Concordia University Chicago, Concordia University Wisconsin, Dominican University, Edgewood College, Lakeland University, Marian University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rockford University and Wisconsin Lutheran College.