In the 75 years since its inception, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) has emerged as the nation’s largest conference. The ECAC has grown considerably from its charter membership of 58, currently boasting over 300 member schools in Divisions I, II and III, ranging in location from Maine to North Carolina. In the 2013-14 academic year, the ECAC will host over 100 championships in 37 men’s and women’s sports as the sponsors of over 5,800 varsity teams and 111,000 male and female athletes.
The ECAC was founded in 1938 as the Central Office for Eastern Intercollegiate Athletics. One of the most significant events in ECAC history occurred in 1983 with the consolidation of the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (EAIAW) into the ECAC infrastructure. With the addition of women’s sports, the ECAC doubled its number of championships and greatly increased its member base.
Through the years the ECAC has exerted leadership not only at the regional level, but at the national level as well. Comprising more than 33 percent of the NCAA membership, the conference plays an integral role in national collegiate athletics policy and legislation. The conference, led by Commissioner Kevin McGinniss, continues today to address many of the same issues affecting college athletics in the past while striving to lead this industry in the 21st century.
Inaugural commissioner Asa S. Bushnell molded the organization from its formation in the 1938 to his retirement in 1970. George Schiebler succeeded Bushnell as commissioner from 1970-72, followed by Robert M. “Scotty” Whitelaw (1972-1989), Clayton Chapman (1989-98), Phil Buttafuoco (1998-2006) and Rudy Keeling (2007-2013). Current commissioner Kevin McGinniss assumed chief administrator responsibilities on June 1, 2013. McGinniss brings extensive knowledge and leadership into the mix based on his 25 years of senior administration in intercollegiate athletics.