ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Frostburg State University (MD) and Salisbury University (MD) will become the seventh and eighth teams to compete in Empire 8 football starting in 2011 as affiliate members. The Bobcats and Sea Gulls, who are expected to play a partial Empire 8 schedule in 2010, will join Utica College, Hartwick College, Alfred University, Ithaca College, affiliate Springfield College and St. John Fisher College.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome Frostburg and Salisbury to the Empire 8’s very competitive football competition,” said Empire 8 President Dr. Thomas Meier of Elmira College. Empire 8 Commissioner Chuck Mitrano added, “Frostburg and Salisbury are two outstanding universities and we are honored to add them to the Empire 8. The addition of these fine institutions further enhances us as one of the premier Division III football conferences.”
Situated in the beautiful mountains of Western Maryland, Frostburg is a premier four-year University System of Maryland institution west of the Baltimore-Washington area. A comprehensive regional university with a diverse student body, Frostburg boasts nationally accredited degrees in business, education and social work and strong programs in liberal arts and sciences and environmental studies, as well as a strong athletic tradition and quality facilities.
“It is an enormous honor to be invited to join the Empire 8 football conference,” said Frostburg President Dr. Jonathan Gibralter. “This will provide a level of competition in an outstanding conference that will benefit Frostburg State University and be a true asset to our student-athletes.”
Salisbury was named among the Top 50 “Best Value” public colleges in the nation for 2009 according to The Princeton Review. The school was also named by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in December 2008 among its top-100 “Best Values in Public Colleges.”
“We are excited about becoming a member of such a prestigious and highly-competitive football conference,” said Salisbury Director of Athletics Dr. Michael Vienna. “This affiliation will provide our football student-athletes the opportunity to have a full conference schedule and to compete against some of the finest Division III institutions and football programs in the nation. We look forward to it with great anticipation as we enter into what will become a new chapter in Salisbury football.”
In seven seasons, the Empire 8 has recorded 18 postseason victories with five of the six current teams playing in at least one postseason game during that time. The current Empire 8 teams have posted a 30-17 record against non-conference Division III opponents over the past two years for a .638 winning percentage.
“It is truly an honor to be invited into such a prestigious conference that is committed first and foremost to the pursuit of academic excellence and seeks to distinguish itself as a premier Division III football conference in the NCAA,’ said Frostburg State Head Coach Thomas Rogish. “This is a milestone in Frostburg State University football history.”
Salisbury finished 9-2 in 2008 and captured the ECAC Southwest Bowl. “It is a great honor for Salisbury University to join the elite group of administrators, coaches, and student-athletes of the Empire 8,” said Salisbury Head Coach Sherman Wood. “The conference is well-respected and very competitive on and off the field. On behalf of our staff and students, I would like to thank the Empire 8 for inviting Salisbury football into one of the most competitive conferences in the nation.”