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The news that keeps us Onward On!
Since 1925
The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

BREAKING: John Carroll moving to the North Coast Athletic Conference

Evan Richwalsky
John Carroll announces a move to the North Coast Athletic Conference.

In a historic announcement, Pres. Al Miciak and Director of Athletics Brian Polian ‘97 announced that John Carroll Athletics would be moving to the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), with competition starting in the fall of 2025. 


The move will place John Carroll in league with Denison University, DePauw University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University and The College of Wooster. 


JCU has been an Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) member since 1989, and was also in the conference from 1932 to 1949. Between 1955 and 1989, JCU was a founding member of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. 


Miciak expressed pleasure to accept the invitation to join the NCAC and that JCU is positioning itself among like-minded institutions, saying “We are pleased to align with a group of academically and athletically competitive partners in the NCAC who enjoy national reach and reputation as high-ranking liberal arts institutions.”


Polian also focused on the academic prestige of the NCAC, further stating “We believe today’s announcement aligns John Carroll with peer institutions that share a common mission and that attract students from across the country.” He went on to admire the historical rivalries that would be lost, stating “It is bittersweet to lose our OAC rivalries and we will work to keep some intact. However, we are excited about developing new rivalries in this new era for JCU athletics.” 


After the press conference, Polian explained further his desire to maintain these rivalries telling WJCU’s Jake Vulinec ‘24 “My hope specifically with Baldwin Wallace is that every sport on this campus could continue to at least face Baldwin Wallace once a year. That’s gonna take some partnership… but I think it is good for Cleveland, good for alums.”      


The NCAC competes in 23 sports, 11 for men and 12 for women. The 12 women’s sports are among the most offered by a Division III conference, continuing the progressivism that the NCAC is known for. It is worth noting that the NCAC currently does not compete in Men’s or Women’s Wrestling, but does compete in Women’s Field Hockey. 


Executive Director of the NCAC Keri Alexander Luchowski is thrilled to welcome JCU to the conference, stating in a NCAC press release “We are excited about the new opportunities John Carroll brings to the NCAC and can’t wait for competition to begin. John Carroll’s commitment to all sports and its support for its student-athletes make it a first-class addition to our league. I look forward to seeing how they enhance our rich tradition and history as they move into full NCAC membership.”


Other NCAC institutions are also looking forward to the addition of John Carroll. David Gellman, Faculty Athletic Representative for DePauw University stated, “At a time when Division I conferences are realigning in mind-bending ways, it is nice to be part of a conference expansion that makes sense geographically, academically, and athletically. John Carroll University joins a North Coast Athletic Conference committed to modeling and celebrating how athletics can play an integral role in developing healthy and well-balanced academic experiences.” 


Matt Tanney, Director of Athletics for Wabash College added, “John Carroll University is a welcome addition to the NCAC. Its shared values and competitive athletics program squarely match the profile of a conference that prides itself on the championship achievements of our talented scholar-athletes. If a ‘rising tide lifts all boats,’ then the entirety of the league benefits from today’s exciting announcement.”


The OAC released a statement thanking JCU for its membership over the past 35 years, stating “We would like to thank John Carroll University for the years spent competing in the OAC and wish them best of luck as they transition to the North Coast Athletic Conference.”


As a result of this move, the OAC and the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference plan to enter into a football scheduling agreement for the 2025 football season and are in the process of determining whether crossover scheduling in other sports for that same year may be appropriate. 


Students have mixed reactions to the announcement. Those on the app YikYak expressed their displeasure in colorful inappropriate language, while others are looking forward with optimism and “letting Polian cook” in the words of WJCU co-Sports Director Bobby Gerome ‘25.  Daniel Argalious ‘26, current member of the swim team, looks forward to the opportunities that lie ahead, telling The Carroll News “I think it’s a good move for the school. It’ll be a big change, but I’m excited for the competition and the opportunity to compete against new teams. Our coaches have always cared for us and have our interests at heart, and will help us with this change and succeed.” 


This move is one chapter in the larger Inspired Futures campaign, complementing the College of Nursing, the Fieldhouse and ongoing campus renovations.

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