SUNY Polytechnic Institute to Join Empire 8 as 12th Full Member in Fall of 2024

General | 11/21/2023 9:58:22 AM

The Empire 8 Conference is pleased to announce the addition of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, effective with the 2024-25 academic year. With the addition of the Wildcats, the E8 will be comprised of 12 members all located in New York State. The conference currently sponsors 23 NCAA Division III sports.

“I extend a warm welcome from the Empire 8 to SUNY Poly,” said Nazareth University President Dr. Beth Paul, who serves as the Chair of the Empire 8 President’s Council. “SUNY Poly reflects the deep commitment of the Empire 8 to maximizing the strengths of the student-athlete experience. Together, the Empire 8 conference exemplifies the best of NCAA Division III athletics, with a most impressive record of athletic, academic and leadership success. The future is bright for Empire 8 student athletes!”

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the Empire 8 is regarded nationally for its leadership and influence. In the past two years, Empire 8 has sponsored and passed four NCAA legislative proposals. The conference is committed to emphasizing the educational role that collegiate athletics plays in the development of its student-athletes – a hallmark of the Empire 8. Additionally, Empire 8 student-athletes excel in the classroom. In 2022-23 more than 2,200 student-athletes earned Empire 8 President’s List honors for posting a 3.75 grade-point average or higher. The average student-athlete grade-point average in 2022-23 was an astounding 3.26 and 279 Empire 8 teams (75.4 percent) combined for a GPA of 3.2 or higher to earn E8 Academic team honors. 

“We are excited to join the Empire 8 and for the new opportunities and relationships it will create,” said SUNY Poly President Dr. Winston Soboyejo. “Our institution is aligned with the conference and its members’ commitment to academic excellence and serving the educational needs of our student-athletes.”

Established in 1966 as the Upper Division College at Herkimer/Rome/Utica, SUNY Poly today operates as an innovative academic leader and economic driver in the Mohawk Valley region and beyond. The Institute, which is charting a path to becoming the State and nation’s premier public polytechnic, remains committed to excellence in scholarship and research, providing a highly affordable, quality hands-on education that blends theory and practice. Division III athletics, intramurals and clubs provide an active campus life. Small class sizes, quality programs, successful graduates and an affordable investment make SUNY Poly a popular choice among college-bound students.

SUNY Poly currently sponsors 13 Division III sports. The Wildcats have enjoyed a rich athletics history with tremendous success at the conference and national level, including:
  • 23 North Eastern Athletic Conference/North Atlantic Conference Championships
  • 22 NCAA Tournament Appearances
  • 517 All-Conference players
  • 29 Conference Coaches of the Year
  • 35 Conference Players of the Year
“SUNY Poly is an ideal fit for Empire 8,” said Empire 8 Executive Director Chuck Mitrano who also serves as the NCAA Division III Championships Committee chair. “A strong academic institution with competitive teams that fits perfectly into our geographic footprint. This is consistent with our goal of adding quality institutions while supporting fiscally responsible athletics competition. We are excited to welcome SUNY Poly and provide their student-athletes with exceptional athletic competition and educational experiences.” 

“We are proud to join the Empire 8 and look forward to establishing new partnerships with its member institutions across the State of New York,” said SUNY Poly Vice President for Student Affairs Marybeth Lyons. “With this move, our student-athletes continue to get the opportunity to compete at a high level, while playing closer to home and our campus community, which will only enhance their SUNY Poly experience.”

“SUNY Poly athletics is excited to be joining the Empire 8 which has a preeminent face in the athletics community,” said SUNY Poly Interim Athletic Director Kelly Colbert. “Supporting our student-athletes with an exceptional experience, one in which they can continue to learn and grow, remains our priority. We appreciate the past three years of participation that the NAC and its leadership have provided. We look forward to building new relationships and competing against some of the best teams in New York.”

SUNY Poly, SUNY Brockport and SUNY Geneseo will all be joining in the fall of 2024 boosting the conference to 12 full-time member institutions, all located in New York State: Alfred University, SUNY Brockport, Elmira College, SUNY Geneseo, Hartwick College, Houghton University, Keuka College, Nazareth University, SUNY Poly, Russell Sage College, St. John Fisher University and Utica University.

School: SUNY Poly
Location: Utica, New York
Founded: 1966
Enrollment: 3,200
Nickname: Wildcats
Colors: Blue and Gold
Affiliation: NCAA Division III
President: Dr. Winston Oluwole Soboyejo
Interim Director of Athletics: Kelly Colbert
Athletics Website:
Sponsored Sports (13): Baseball, Men's and Women's Basketball, Men's and Women's Cross Country, Mixed Golf, Men's and Women's Lacrosse, Men's and Women's Soccer, Softball and Men’s and Women's Volleyball.

The members of the Empire 8 Conference are committed first and foremost to the pursuit of academic excellence and the league is regarded as an outstanding NCAA Division III conference. The membership has distinguished itself among its peer group for its quality institutions, spirited and sportsmanlike competition, outstanding services and highly ethical policies and practices. Its commitment to serve the educational needs of its student-athletes is the hallmark of the E8. For more on the Empire 8 visit and YouTube