North Coast Athletic Conference Welcomes John Carroll University

Cleveland, OH -- John Carroll University of University Heights, Ohio, has accepted a unanimous invitation to join the North Coast Athletic Conference. The Blue Streaks will begin NCAC competition in 2025-26.
“For 40 years, the NCAC has been a values driven conference committed to fostering a complementary relationship between athletic and academic excellence,” said Adam Weinberg, president of both Denison University and the NCAC. “John Carroll shares our values and commitments and will be a great addition to the conference. I am excited to welcome them.”
The NCAC was founded in 1983 based upon the principles of a strong commitment to equality, a firm belief in a broad-based athletic program as part of an institutions’ greater academic mission and a reliance on mutual trust and presidential leadership. Beginning play in 1984-85, the conference now sponsors 23 championship sports, 11 for men and 12 for women.
The expansion brings the core NCAC membership to 10 NCAA Division III institutions spanning Ohio and Indiana. John Carroll joins Denison University (Granville, OH), DePauw University (Greencastle, IN), Hiram College (Hiram, OH), Kenyon College (Gambier, OH), Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH), Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, OH), Wabash College (Crawfordsville, IN), Wittenberg University (Springfield, OH) and the College of Wooster (Wooster, OH). The NCAC also includes four field hockey affiliate members in Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania: Allegheny College (Meadville, PA), Earlham College (Richmond, IN), Transylvania University (Lexington, KY) and Washington & Jefferson College (Washington, PA).
The addition solidifies the NCAC footprint with an institution devoted to highly competitive athletics within a rigorous academic environment and provides permanent quality opponents within conference play.
“Athletics has been an integral part of the student experience at John Carroll for more than a century and we are pleased to accept the invitation to join the NCAC during a pivotal time in our history,” said President Al Miciak. “Our Board of Directors and University leadership are committed to ongoing strategic investments that will ensure that the gift of a Jesuit education from John Carroll is available for generations to come. 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.”
Founded in 1886 by the Society of Jesus, John Carroll is a private, selective, coeducational, residential liberal arts university with an undergraduate enrollment of 2,615 representing 36 states and 15 countries. The Blue Streaks compete in 24 sports. John Carroll has won 12 Ohio Athletic Conference men’s all-sports trophies, including the past eight in a row; the Blue Streaks women have finished within the top half of the conference in each of the past 11 years. John Carroll, which re-joined the OAC in 1989 after a stint from 1932-1949, was also a founding member of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. JCU is nationally competitive with top-30 finishes in the LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup in each of the last two years, along with seven individual national championships, 55 individual All-Americans, and 29 NCAA Championship appearances since 2021.
Denison, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster are charter North Coast members. Wittenberg joined in 1988-89; Hiram and Wabash followed in 1999-00 and DePauw joined in 2011-12. Charter member Case Western Reserve relinquished NCAC membership in 1998-99 after the introduction of the automatic qualification (AQ) system in Division III; Earlham, which joined the league in 1988 with Wittenberg relinquished membership in 2010 but remained a field hockey affiliate member: Allegheny exited in 2021, but also remained in field hockey. Transylvania and Washington & Jefferson joined in field hockey for the 2023-24 season.
What people are saying:
Mike Frandsen – President, Wittenberg University; Vice President, NCAC
“We are fortunate to welcome a strong new member to the NCAC. John Carroll brings tradition and achievement in athletic and academic pursuits that will add to the success of our conference in developing student-athletes for life.”
Keri Alexander Luchowski – Executive Director, NCAC
“We are thrilled to welcome our friends at John Carroll University to the North Coast Athletic Conference family. 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.”
David Gellman – Faculty Athletic Representative, DePauw University; NCAC Sports Caucus Co-Chair
“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.”
Judy Holdener – Faculty Athletic Representative, Kenyon College; NCAC Sports Caucus Co-Chair
“John Carroll University's membership in the NCAC makes sense geographically, academically, and athletically, and we look forward to partnering with them to promote an environment in which athletes thrive academically, athletically, and socially.”
Brian Polian – Director of Athletics, John Carroll University
“At John Carroll, students can pursue excellence in the classroom and on the playing field without sacrificing one for the other. We work every day to attract the type of student who wants an exceptional Jesuit education and who wants to compete at the highest level of Division III athletics. We believe today’s announcement aligns John Carroll with peer institutions that share a common mission and that attract students from across the country.”
Matt Tanney – Director of Athletics, Wabash College; NCAC Sports Caucus Co-Chair
“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.”
Natalie Winkelfoos – Director of Athletics, Oberlin College; NCAC Sports Caucus Co-Chair
“Today marks the start of a new chapter for the North Coast Athletic Conference as we welcome John Carroll. Their addition builds on the existing competitive and academic excellence of the NCAC. We look forward to collaborating with and engaging in spirited competition with JCU.”
Doug Zipp – Director of Athletics, Ohio Wesleyan University
“With the addition of John Carroll University, I look forward to years of healthy and vigorous competition across all our sport programs. I am confident that we have not only added a quality member that shares our collective values in all aspects of academics, service, and a quality student-athlete experience that it will enhance that of the current member schools and contribute to the long-term future of the NCAC.”

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