The Patriot League is a collegiate athletic conference comprising private institutions of higher education and two United States service academies based in the Northeastern United States. Outside the Ivy League, it is among the most selective group of higher education institutions in NCAA Division I and has a very high student-athlete graduation rate for both the NCAA graduation success rate and the federal graduation rate.
The Patriot League consists of 10 core members: American University, the United States Military Academy (Army), Boston University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Loyola University Maryland and the United States Naval Academy (Navy).
All 10 core members participate in the NCAA's Division I for all Patriot League sports that they offer. Since not all schools sponsor every available NCAA sport, such as ice hockey and wrestling, most schools are affiliated with other collegiate conferences.
Additionally, the Patriot League has a unique arrangement for football. Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, and Lehigh are members of the Patriot League's Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conference. Of the five other conference members, American, Boston University and Loyola Maryland do not sponsor football while Army and Navy play in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision; Army is an independent while Navy currently competes as an associate member of the American Athletic Conference.
Four other private institutions are Patriot League members only for specific sports and are referred to as 'Patriot League associate members.' Fordham University and Georgetown University are associate members in football, while MIT is an associate member in women's rowing and University of Richmond is an associate member in women's golf.
|Members||10 full, 4 associate|
|Former names||Colonial League|
|Headquarters||Center Valley, Pennsylvania|
|Commissioner||Jennifer Heppel (since 2015)|
Patriot League members are schools with very strong academic reputations that adhere strongly to the ideal of the "scholar-athlete", with the emphasis on "scholar". An academic index ensures that athletes are truly representative of and integrated with the rest of the student body. Out-of-league play for Patriot League schools is often with members of the Ivy League, which follow similar philosophies regarding academics and athletics.
Patriot League members have some of the oldest collegiate athletic programs in the country. In particular, The Rivalry between Lehigh University and Lafayette College is both the nation's most played and longest uninterrupted college football series.
The winner of the Patriot League Basketball tournament receives an automatic invitation to the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament every March. In recent years, Bucknell (twice) and Lehigh have both won NCAA tournament games. The Patriot League champion in a number of other sports also receives an automatic invitation to its respective NCAA tournaments.
The origins of the Patriot League began after the eight Ivy League schools each expanded its football schedules to ten games starting in 1980. Needing opponents with a similar competitive level on a regular basis for each teams' three nonconference games, the league contacted two university presidents, the Reverend John E. Brooks, S.J. of Holy Cross and Peter Likins of Lehigh, about the formation of a new conference that also prohibited athletic scholarships. The result was the Colonial League, a football-only circuit that began competition in 1986. Its six charter members were Holy Cross, Lehigh, Bucknell, Colgate, Lafayette and Davidson, which dropped out after the 1988 season for reasons related to geography, lack of competitiveness, and a reluctance to relinquish its basketball scholarships in case the conference expanded into other sports.
In 1990, the league changed its name to the Patriot League at the suggestion of Carl F. Ullrich, who would go on to become the conference's first full-time administrator.. At the start of the 1990–91 academic year, the league became an all-sport conference, with 22 sports (11 for men and 11 for women), and now had seven full members, including Fordham and the United States Military Academy (Army) as new members. In 1991, the league gained an eighth full member — the United States Naval Academy (Navy).
In 1993, the league hired Constance (Connie) H. Hurlbut as executive director. She was the first woman and youngest person to be the leader of an NCAA Division I conference.
In 1995, Fordham resigned its full membership (leaving the league with seven full members) but continued as an associate member in football. In 1996, Fairfield and Ursinus joined as associate members in field hockey. (Fairfield left after the 2003 fall season and is now an associate member of the America East Conference. Ursinus left after the 2001 fall season and is now a full member of the Centennial Conference.) In 1997, Towson joined as an associate member in football. (Towson left after the 2003 fall season to join the Atlantic 10 Conference, whose football conference would be absorbed by the Colonial Athletic Association in 2007.) In 1999, Hobart joined as an associate member in men's lacrosse and Villanova joined as an associate member in women's lacrosse. (Hobart left after the 2004 spring season, to join the ECAC Lacrosse League, while Villanova left after the 2006 spring season.) In 2001, American University joined as the eighth full member and Georgetown University joined as an associate member in football. Two schools announced in summer 2012 that they would join the league for the 2013–14 academic year, with Boston University making its announcement on June 15 and Loyola University Maryland doing so on August 29.
While need-based financial aid has always been available, athletic scholarships have only been allowed in recent years at Patriot League schools. Basketball scholarships were first allowed beginning with freshmen entering the league in the fall of 1998. In 2001, when American, which gave scholarships in all sports (AU does not play football) entered the league, the league began allowing all schools to do so in sports other than football. Lafayette, the last no athletic scholarships holdout, began granting full rides in basketball and other sports with freshmen entering the school in the fall of 2006. Most Patriot League schools do not give athletic scholarships in a number of sports, and Bucknell only granted them in basketball prior to the addition of football scholarships in 2013.
In the spring of 2009, Fordham University announced that it would start offering football scholarships effective with the fall of 2010. While this action made Fordham ineligible for the league championship, it did open up the question of football scholarships. On February 13, 2012, the Patriot League announced they would begin offering football scholarships starting with the 2013–14 academic year. Since then, each school has been allowed no more than the equivalent of 15 scholarships to incoming football players. Since the transition to scholarship football was completed for the 2016–17 academic year, each football member has been allowed up to 60 scholarship equivalents per season, a total only slightly lower than the NCAA limit of 63 scholarship equivalents for FCS programs.
|Alan Childs||1986–1989||Lafayette College Professor of Psychology|
|Carl F. Ullrich||1989–1993||League's first full-time Executive Director; retired|
|Connie Hurlbut||1993–1999||Western Athletic Conference Deputy Commissioner and SWA|
|Carolyn Schlie Femovich||1999–2015||The PICTOR Group Senior Partner|
|Jennifer Heppel||2015–||Previously Big Ten Conference Associate Commissioner for Governance|
There are ten "full" member schools:
|American University||Washington, D.C.||1893||2001||Private||6,028||$455M||Eagles|
|United States Military Academy
|West Point, New York||1802||1990||Federal||4,686||N/A||Black Knights|
|Boston University||Boston, MA||1839||2013||Private||15,803||$2.2B||Terriers|
|Bucknell University||Lewisburg, Pennsylvania||1846||1986||Private||3,650||$801M||Bison|
|Colgate University||Hamilton, New York||1819||1986||Private||2,837||$908M||Raiders|
|College of the Holy Cross||Worcester, Massachusetts||1843||1986||Private||2,817||$1B||Crusaders|
|Lafayette College||Easton, Pennsylvania||1826||1986||Private||2,382||$693.7M||Leopards|
|Lehigh University||Bethlehem, Pennsylvania||1865||1986||Private||4,781||$1.1B||Mountain Hawks|
|Loyola University Maryland||Baltimore, Maryland||1852||2013||Private||4,068||$206M||Greyhounds|
|United States Naval Academy
There are four associate-member schools:
|Nickname||Colors||Primary Conference||Patriot Sport|
|Fordham University||Bronx, New York||1841||Private||8,220||Rams||Atlantic 10||football|
|1789||Private||7,433||Hoyas||Big East||football, women's rowing|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(NCAA Division III)
|University of Richmond||Richmond, Virginia||1830||Private||3,400||Spiders||Atlantic 10||women's golf|
American, Boston, and Loyola do not play football. On the other hand, Army participates as an independent in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) and Navy participates in the American Athletic Conference for football only. Thus, Fordham and Georgetown replace them in the Patriot League for football only.
Fordham was also a full member of the Patriot League from 1990 until 1995 when they moved all sports except football to the Atlantic 10 Conference.
|Fordham University||Bronx, New York||1841||1990||1995||Private||8,220||Rams||Atlantic 10|
|Nickname||Primary Conference||Patriot Sport|
|Davidson College||Davidson, North Carolina||1837||1986–87||1988–89||Private||1,743||Wildcats||A10 (all sports)
|Fairfield University||Fairfield, Connecticut||1942||1996–97||2003–04||Private||4,991||Stags||MAAC||field hockey|
|Hobart College||Geneva, New York||1822||1999–2000||2003–04||Private||2,110||Statesmen||Liberty
(NCAA Division III)
|Towson University||Towson, Maryland||1866||1997–98||2003–04||Public||17,517||Tigers||CAA||football|
|Ursinus College||Collegeville, Pennsylvania||1869||1996–97||2001–02||Private||1,750||Bears||Centennial
(NCAA Division III)
|Villanova University||Villanova, Pennsylvania||1842||1998–99||2005–06||Private||6,394||Wildcats||Big East||women's lacrosse|
Full members Full members (non-football) Assoc. members (football only) Associate member(some sports)
The Patriot League sponsors championship competition in twelve men's and thirteen women's NCAA sanctioned sports. Georgetown and Fordham are Associate members for football, and Georgetown and MIT are Associate members for rowing.
|Swimming & Diving||10|
|Track and Field (Indoor)||N||9|
|Track and Field (Outdoor)||N||9|
|Swimming & Diving||10|
|Track and Field (Indoor)||10|
|Track and Field (Outdoor)||10|
The Patriot League Presidents' Cup is awarded to the member institution with the highest cumulative sports point total for their Patriot League standings in sponsored men's and women's sports. Points are awarded based upon a combination of an institution's regular-season and tournament finishes in each sport.
President's Cup Winners (combined men and women):
In NCAA basketball, Bucknell, Navy, Lehigh, and Holy Cross are the only teams in the conference ever to have recorded NCAA Tournament victories. Bucknell won tournament games in 2005 over Kansas and in 2006 over Arkansas. Lehigh won over Duke in the first round in the 2012 tournament.
The Bison, Mountain Hawks, and Crusaders are the only teams to win in the NCAA Tournament while actually representing the Patriot League. A Navy team—then representing the Colonial Athletic Association—led by future Hall of Famer David Robinson won three tournament games while advancing to the regional finals in 1986. Holy Cross was among the best teams in the country in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and won the 1947 national championship with a team that included Hall of Famer Bob Cousy. Its combined record in the NCAA Tournament is 8–12. After a 63-year drought, Holy Cross defeated Southern University in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Patriot League football was non-scholarship until the league presidents voted to approve football scholarships starting with the 2013 recruiting class. Since then, each school has been allowed no more than the equivalent of 15 scholarships to incoming football players in any given season. With the transition to scholarship football having been completed in 2016, each school is now allowed a maximum of 60 scholarship equivalents per season, three short of the NCAA FCS maximum. However, Georgetown does not offer scholarships.
Until 1997, Patriot League teams did not participate in the NCAA Division I Football Championship playoffs. The policy was in step with the Ivy League's policy of not participating in the playoffs since the Patriot League was founded with the Ivy League's athletics philosophy. The league champion receives the automatic playoff berth. If there are co-champions, a tie-breaker determines the playoff participant.
Colgate was the first team to receive the league's automatic berth in 1997. The following year, Lehigh won the league's first playoff game. It is also the only year where a Patriot League team, Colgate, received a playoff invitation without being a league co-champion. The 2003 Colgate team advanced all the way to the National Championship game before falling to the University of Delaware. It was the first time a Patriot League team has advanced beyond the second round and played in a championship game. The 2015 Colgate team became the second Patriot League team to advance past the second round. After winning their first and second round games, they lost in the quarter-finals to Sam Houston. Colgate is the only Patriot league team to advance past the second round (2003, 2015)
|School||Football stadium||Capacity||Basketball arena||Capacity||Baseball stadium||Capacity||Soccer venue||Capacity|
|American||Non-football school||Bender Arena||3,044||Non-baseball school||Reeves Field||700|
|Army||Sponsors football as an FBS Independent
Army's home football games are at Michie Stadium
|38,000||Christl Arena||5,043||Johnson Stadium at Doubleday Field||880||Clinton Field||2,000|
|Boston||Non-football school||Agganis Arena
|Non-baseball school||Nickerson Field||10,412|
|Bucknell||Christy Mathewson–Memorial Stadium||13,100||Sojka Pavilion||4,000||Eugene B. Depew Field||500||Emmitt Field at Holmes Stadium||1,250|
|Colgate||Andy Kerr Stadium||10,221||Cotterell Court||3,000||Non-baseball school||Van Doren Field||2,000|
|Fordham||Coffey Field||7,000||Football-only member|
|Georgetown||Cooper Field||2,500||Football-only member|
|Holy Cross||Fitton Field||23,500||Hart Center||3,600||Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field||3,000||Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium||1,320|
|Lafayette||Fisher Stadium||13,132||Kirby Sports Center||2,644||Kamine Stadium||500||Oaks Stadium||1,000|
|Lehigh||Goodman Stadium||16,000||Stabler Arena||5,600||J. David Walker Field at Legacy Park||370||Caruso Wrestling Complex||2,400|
|Loyola||Non-football school||Reitz Arena||2,100||Non-baseball school||Ridley Athletic Complex||6,000|
|Navy||Plays football in the American Athletic Conference.
Navy's home football games are at Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
|34,000||Alumni Hall||5,710||Max Bishop Stadium||1,500||Glenn Warner Soccer Facility||2,500|
The Patriot League was profiled in the John Feinstein book, The Last Amateurs. The title is derived from the belief that the Patriot League was the last Division I basketball league that plays a conference tournament (the Ivy League, which operates under the same model, albeit with no scholarships, did not hold a conference tournament until the 2016–17 season) and functions as a place for student-athletes, rather than functioning as a de facto minor professional league with players not representative of their student bodies. In it, Feinstein followed all the league's men's basketball teams during the 1999–2000 season.
The American Eagles are the athletics teams that represent the American University in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I competition. American is a member of the Patriot League in all sports except wrestling, where it is a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association. Many of the teams have gone on to win championships over the years, particularly their field hockey, volleyball, and wrestling teams. The team colors are red and blue.American Eagles men's basketball
The American Eagles men's basketball team represents American University in Washington, D.C. in NCAA Division I competition. The school's team competes in the Patriot League and play their home games in Bender Arena. Their rivals include Boston University, Bucknell University, and Navy.Boston University Terriers
The Boston University Terriers are the ten men's and fourteen women's varsity athletic teams representing Boston University in NCAA Division I competition. Boston University's team nickname is the Terriers, and the official mascot is Rhett the Boston Terrier. The school colors are Scarlet and White. The mascot is named Rhett after Rhett Butler from "Gone With the Wind", because "no one loves Scarlet more than Rhett."
The majority of BU's teams compete as members of the Patriot League, with the ice hockey teams competing in Hockey East and rowing competing in the EARC.Bucknell Bison
The Bucknell Bison are the athletic teams that represent Bucknell University. The program is a member of the Patriot League for most NCAA Division I sports and Division I FCS in football.Bucknell Bison football
The Bucknell Bison football team represents Bucknell University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) level. Bucknell is a member of the Patriot League. Bucknell won the first Orange Bowl, 26–0, over the Miami Hurricanes on January 1, 1935.Bucknell Bison men's basketball
The Bucknell Bison men's basketball team represents Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania in NCAA Division I competition. The school's team competes in the Patriot League and plays home games in Sojka Pavilion.Bucknell began varsity intercollegiate competition in men's basketball in 1896. The Bison were retroactively recognized as the pre-NCAA Tournament national champion for the 1900–01 season by the Premo-Porretta Power Poll.Christl Arena
Christl Arena is a 5,043-seat, multi-purpose arena in West Point, New York. It was built in 1985 as part of the Major Donald W. Holleder Center, which also houses Tate Rink. It is home to the United States Military Academy's Army Black Knights men's and women's basketball teams. It was named after 1st Lieutenant Edward C. Christl Jr. '44, a former basketball captain who was killed in combat in Austria during World War II. (Maj. Holleder, '56, the namesake of the athletic center, was an All-American football and basketball player killed in combat in Vietnam in 1967.)
The arena hosted portions of the 1995 and 1999 Patriot League men's basketball tournaments, as well as portions of the 2006 and 2008 Patriot League women's basketball tournament, including the 2006 Patriot League championship game, as Army defeated Holy Cross, clinching the first Division I NCAA Tournament bid in program history.Colgate Raiders football
The Colgate Raiders football team represents Colgate University in NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) college football competition as a member of the Patriot League.Holy Cross Crusaders
The Holy Cross Crusaders are the athletic teams representing the College of the Holy Cross. They primarily compete in NCAA Division I as members of the Patriot League. In ice hockey, a sport not sponsored by the Patriot League for either sex, the Crusaders are members of two other leagues, with men competing in the Atlantic Hockey Association and women in Hockey East. The men's rowing team is part of the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges. Of its 25 varsity teams, Holy Cross supports 12 men's and 13 women's sports, giving Holy Cross the largest ratio of teams-per-enrollment in the country. Holy Cross's athletic teams for both men and women are known as the Crusaders.
Holy Cross is a founding member of the Patriot League, and boasts that one-quarter of its student body participates in its varsity athletic programs. Principal facilities include Fitton Field for football (capacity: 23,500) and baseball (3,000), the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex for basketball (3,600) and ice hockey (1,400), the Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium (1,320), and the Smith Wellness Center, located inside the Luth Athletic Complex.The College is one of nine schools to have won an NCAA championship in both baseball (1952) and basketball (1947).Holy Cross Crusaders baseball
For information on all College of the Holy Cross sports, see Holy Cross CrusadersThe Holy Cross Crusaders baseball team is a varsity intercollegiate athletic team of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, United States. The team is a member of the Patriot League, which is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. The team plays its home games at Hanover Insurance Park at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Crusaders are coached by Greg DiCenzo. Holy Cross has participated in the NCAA Tournament 11 times and has advanced to the College World Series on four occasions, capturing the title in 1952. The team earned its first Patriot League regular season title in 2013 before falling in the Patriot League Championship Series for the third time in four years. The team also boasts recent wins over top 10 teams, defeating #4 Texas A&M in 2012 and #7 Mississippi State in 2014. In 2017, the team won its first Patriot League Tournament Championship by sweeping Army and Bucknell. It was the fifth PLCS appearance for the Crusaders in eight years.Holy Cross Crusaders football
The Holy Cross Crusaders football team is the collegiate American football program of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. The team is a member of the Patriot League, an NCAA Division I conference that participates in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The team plays their home games at Fitton Field.Lafayette Leopards
The Lafayette Leopards represent the 23 Division I varsity athletic teams of Lafayette College and compete in the Patriot League. There are 11 men's teams, 11 women's teams, and one co-ed team. The club teams also compete as the Leopards. Though not a varsity sport, crew and ice hockey are very competitive at Lafayette and play in intercollegiate club leagues.
Lafayette's primary rival in every sport is the Lehigh Mountain Hawks of nearby Lehigh University. Bucknell University is also a major rival and other league and school rivalries exist on an individual sport level.
Lafayette's student-athletes generally lead the NCAA in academic performance. In 2011, 16 of Lafayette's 23 teams academic performance scored within the top ten percent of their respective sport. Lafayette led the Patriot League, which placed second behind the Ivy League.Lafayette's first recorded athletic event outside of the student body was a baseball game against Easton amateurs, a 44–11 win on November 8, 1865. The first recorded intercollegiate match was a 45–45 tie in a baseball game against Lehigh in October 1869.Lehigh Mountain Hawks
The Lehigh Mountain Hawks are the athletic teams representing Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States. The Hawks participate in NCAA Division I competition as a member of the Patriot League. In football, Lehigh competes in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).Lehigh Mountain Hawks football
The Lehigh Mountain Hawks football program represents Lehigh University in college football. Lehigh competes as the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level as members of the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks play their home games at Goodman Stadium in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Andy Coen has served as the team's head coach since 2006.
The program ranks 40th all-time in terms of wins with 680 (out of 1,312 games played) for a winning percentage of 56%. Since 1945, the modern era, Lehigh has won at a 60% pace. Their win-loss record against Lafayette since this time is also 60%.
The Lehigh football program officially began in 1883 when student J. S. Robeson organized a football team to play against the University of Pennsylvania's sophomore class team. Athlete and future journalist Richard Harding Davis was a part of that squad. "J. S. Robeson is the father of football at Lehigh," Davis recalled for the Lehigh Quarterly of 1891. "It was he who induced the sophomores at the University of Pennsylvania to send their eleven up to play an eleven from the class of '86 on December 8th, 1884, and it was he who captained the Varsity team the following year."In 1884, Lehigh's intercollegiate team was formed, and Lafayette team captain Theodore Welles immediately approached Robeson to challenge them, establishing a rivalry which continues to today.
At the start of the 2011 season, Lehigh is ranked among the institutions that have played the most games (1,241), compiled the most victories (637). Since 1986, Lehigh has been a charter member of the Patriot League, formerly called the Colonial League. Lehigh has won ten Patriot League titles and has played in 20 post season games, winning 10 of the contests. Along the way, Lehigh has won a Division II National Championship (1977) and has been national runner up in the I-AA tournament in 1979.List of NCAA Division I-AA/FCS football seasons
A list of NCAA Division I-AA college football seasons since the divisional split in 1978. In 2006, Division I-AA was renamed Division I Football Championship Subdivision (or Division I FCS for short).Navy Midshipmen men's basketball
The Navy Midshipmen men's basketball team represents the United States Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland, in NCAA Division I college basketball. The team competes in the Patriot League and plays its home games in Alumni Hall.The U.S. Naval Academy began varsity intercollegiate competition in men's basketball in the 1907–08 season. Navy was retroactively recognized as the pre-NCAA Tournament national champion for the 1912–13 and 1918–19 seasons by the Premo-Porretta Power Poll and for the 1912–13 season by the Helms Athletic Foundation.Patriot League Men's Basketball Player of the Year
The Patriot League Men's Basketball Player of the Year is a basketball award given to the Patriot League's most outstanding player. The award was first given following the 1990–91 season, the first under the Patriot League name and also the league's first season as an all-sports conference. There have been five repeat winners of the award: Adonal Foyle of Colgate (1996, 1997), Brian Ehlers of Lafayette (1999, 2000), C. J. McCollum of Lehigh (2010, 2012), Mike Muscala of Bucknell (2011, 2013), and Tim Kempton Jr. of Lehigh (2015, 2016). Bucknell claims the most awards (8) while Holy Cross and Lehigh are tied for second with five. Bucknell has the most individual players honored with seven.
Three Patriot League members have not had a winner: Army, Boston University, and Loyola (Maryland); only Army was a member before 2013. No ties have ever occurred for the player of the year award.Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament
The Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament is held at the conclusion of each regular season. The winner of the tournament is awarded an automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.Patriot League Men's Soccer Tournament
The Patriot League Men's Soccer Tournament is the conference championship tournament in college soccer for the Patriot League. The tournament has been held every year since 1990. It is a single-elimination tournament and seeding is based on regular season records. The winner, declared conference champion, receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Division I Soccer Championship.
|Full members (all sports)|
|Full members (except football)|
|Associate members (football only)|
|Associate members (other sports)|