2005 Intercollegiate Sports Return to Penn State Harrisburg
For nearly 12 years – from 1993 to 2005 – Penn State Harrisburg didn’t host any intercollegiate sports teams. Penn State Harrisburg’s history as an upper division college means that it had many older students who already had full-time jobs and families and didn’t have time for many extracurricular activities, especially those as time consuming as intercollegiate sports. So when the Penn State Harrisburg administration searched for activities to cut so it could stay under budget in 1993, intercollegiate sports were a major item hacked.
After Penn State Harrisburg became a four-year college in 2004 and students expressed an interest in competing in intercollegiate sports, Penn State Harrisburg brought them back in 2005. The first intercollegiate sports team at this time were women’s volleyball, basketball, and softball; men’s soccer, baseball, and basketball; and co-ed cross-country.
Bud Smitley, coordinator of Recreation and Athletics and advocate for the return of intercollegiate sports, said in 2005 that he hoped the college could soon add more sports, like golf and tennis, and hoped to compete in NCAA Division III by 2010.
In 2006, the college added women’s soccer, men’s golf, and co-ed tennis which allowed to school to apply and be approved for provisional Division III membership in 2007. The provisional process includes a four-year waiting period to allow time to phase in all of the necessary requirements, such as having enough interest for at least five women’s and five men’s sports, two of which must be co-ed.
Penn State Harrisburg started in the PSU Athletic Conference, competing against other campuses before it joined the North Eastern Athletic Conference to compete against 10 schools from Pennsylvania and New York. Today, Penn State Harrisburg has NCAA Division III status and memberships with the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the Capital Athletic Conference.