NCAA Approves Athletic Consortium for Bennington College and Southern Vermont College

August 28, 2014

(Photo: L-R: Michael McDonough, Director of Athletics at SVC; Karen Gross, President of SVC; and Michiel Considine, Assistant Director of Student Life at Bennington College)

The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) has given the go-ahead to Southern Vermont College (SVC) for an athletics consortium with Bennington College starting this fall. Through the consortium, Bennington College students would be permitted to participate in SVC’s New England Collegiate Conference/Division III athletics.

SVC’s first men's soccer game is Saturday, August 30, and a Bennington student-athlete will be participating.

“This is a tremendous opportunity, not only broadening our athletic programs but also partnering with our collegiate neighbors in a way that enhances both institutions athletically and academically,” said SVC Director of Athletics Michael McDonough who filed the application for the consortium to the NCAA.

SVC President Karen Gross and Bennington President Mariko Silver first broached the idea of an athletic collaboration in January. Bennington currently offers intramural programs and does not belong to a conference or athletic organization.

“Both colleges believe in the power of partnership for facilitating student success in navigating the ever-changing higher education landscape,” noted Gross in her presentation to the NECC presidents.

“As neighboring institutions, an SVC-Bennington athletics consortium is one way of sharing resources that offers clear benefits to all our students, as well as to the surrounding community,” said Silver.

A requirement to apply for the athletic consortium was to have an existing academic consortium, which the colleges have shared in since 2005, providing student cross-registration and faculty collaboration through speaker events among other opportunities.

"This partnership has opened numerous doors, both within athletics and beyond. In the coming terms, we will look to expand our athletic partnership, from an initial offering of cross-country and men's soccer this fall to the entire range of SVC athletics in the years to come,” said Michiel Considine, Assistant Director of Student Life at Bennington College.

Student leaders are already meeting and touring each other's campuses, and the colleges are organizing programming with both student populations in mind.

Through the new consortium, SVC would also be allowed to recruit student-athletes enrolled at, or to be enrolled at, Bennington College. These athletes must meet all NCAA and SVC requirements in terms of eligibility and will also need to meet the Division III performance standards of each particular sport. Bennington students on the Mountaineer rosters will play under the SVC name, will be trained at SVC, and will compete and travel with the SVC teams.

The athletic consortium was previously approved first by athletic directors of the NECC prior to the approval of the conference presidents.

Listen to the press conference here: