April 27, 2000
Bethlehem, Pa. - The Patriot League Council of Presidents has voted unanimously to formally accept American University as the League's eighth full member. American joins Bucknell University, Colgate University, The College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy as full members in the Patriot League. The Eagles are expected to begin a full league schedule in 18 sports beginning in the 2001-2002 academic year.
Lafayette President Arthur Rothkopf '55 was pleased with the addition of the conference's newest member.
"I am glad that the league has been able to expand to eight full members, and to do so with an institution that shares similar academic goals with the other league members," said Rothkopf.
"We are proud to join the outstanding institutions of the Patriot League as their new colleague and athletics competitor," said AU President Benjamin Ladner. "American University supports the goals of the League in striving to achieve the very best of what higher education offers with both academic and athletic excellence."
"The addition of American University reaffirms and strengthens the Patriot League's commitment to support successful athletic programs as a complement to academic and institutional goals," said Bucknell University President Dr. William D. Adams, chairman of the league's Council of Presidents. "With its fine academic and athletic reputation, and desirable geographic location in relationship to the other League members, American University is a strong and fitting addition to the Patriot League. We welcome them with great enthusiasm."
The Patriot League's full members consistently rank among the Top 25 Division I programs in the NCAA Graduation Rates Report. In fact, Lafayette ranked first in the nation as the only Division I institution with a perfect graduation rate for men's and women's basketball in the most recent NCAA survey. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Patriot League has sent 102 teams to post season play in the NCAA, ECAC, or National Invitational tournaments. The League also boasts of 53 student-athletes who have qualified for NCAA Championships. More than 145 Patriot League student-athletes have earned All-America honors in 17 sports.
"We are very pleased with the addition of American University to our league," Patriot League Executive Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich said. "American's strong tradition of excellence in academics and Division I athletics reflects the core values of the Patriot League. They will be an excellent complement to our league. Their commitment to support successful Division I programs in both men's and women's sports is very compatible with the philosophy of our member institutions."
The Patriot League ranks fifth among Division I conferences in total number of sports offered (22), and second in the number of sports offered for women (11). The League has automatic bids into the NCAA Championships in 13 sports, including football.
Chartered by an Act of Congress in 1893, American University has students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 160 nations. Its academic program in the arts and sciences, public affairs, government, law, business, international service and communications prepare students for the global society. Athletically, the Eagles are currently enjoying their most successful stretch. Since the 1997-98 season, American has sent four teams to NCAA championships, had four student-athletes named All-Americans and, during the 1998-99 season, had four students named Academic All-Americans. The Eagles have competed in the Colonial Athletic Association since its inception in 1985.