The headquarters of the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) is now in Cortland, N.Y.
The Division III league this year relocated its main office to the rural, Upstate New York city — already home to the New York Jets summer training camp, the Empire State Senior Games, the legendary Cortaca Jug football rivalry and many other high-profile athletic events — to provide a central meeting location for its 10 member institutions. Previously, the conference operated out of Fredonia, N.Y.
“This is really just about geography, plain and simple,” said Azure Davey, the conference’s first-year commissioner.
The SUNYAC, formed in 1958, was previously housed in Western New York because that’s where retired founding commissioner Patrick Damore lives. Besides SUNY Cortland, the conference includes full-time members Brockport, Buffalo State, Fredonia, Geneseo, New Paltz, Oneonta, Oswego, Plattsburgh and Potsdam plus affiliate member Morrisville in two sports.
“Being centrally located, Cortland affords us an opportunity to have a point place for folks to convene,” Davey said. “I can’t ask people to drive from Plattsburgh to Fredonia for an in-person meeting. But I can from time to time ask them to meet at a central location in the state.
“Cortland provides that location for us.”
The drive from Plattsburgh to Cortland, for instance, is two and a half hours less than a trip from Plattsburgh to Fredonia. And the relocation saves more than three hours of travel time on the road for a conference member such as New Paltz.
Davey, who served as assistant athletic director for compliance, student services and scheduling at SUNY Cortland from 2004 to 2006, said the move saves costs too.
“Our members can come and go without having to lodge anywhere,” she said. “It’s just a smarter way to do business.”
The SUNYAC’s chief responsibility is the governance and oversight of its members, Davey said. The conference also oversees more than a dozen committees on issues such as eligibility, infractions and scheduling in addition to championship committees for its 20 sports.
“Making sure those committees interact with each other and feed information to each other in an organized, efficient manner to ensure we do our business correctly when it comes time for a championship or an infraction … that’s the biggest responsibility of the conference,” Davey said.
Besides its commissioner, the SUNYAC employs one other full-time employee, assistant commissioner Megan Cross ’03, a former third baseman for the College’s softball team; and one part-time employee, Roy Pratt. The trio works out of one office in Park Center, Room 2120.
Davey said the location provides no advantage to the College other than easier access to a one-on-one conversation.
“We’re an independent group and we represent all of our members in the exact same way,” Davey said. “We’re in a new location, but it’s just business as usual otherwise.”