The Empire 8 Conference has announced that the 2018 New York State Bowl will not be held. The annual game, which features a representative from the E8 and the Liberty League, was scheduled to take place this Saturday, Nov. 17, at Cortland since it was the E8’s turn to host.
The Liberty League failed to put forth a program to take part in the game, which features top teams from each of the two conferences that were not selected as part of the NCAA Division III playoff field.
Ithaca, the Liberty League co-champion, elected to participate in an ECAC bowl game in order to avoid Cortland and Ithaca having to play immediately following their annual Cortaca Jug rivalry game. Union and Hobart each finished 3-2 in Liberty League play, but both schools declined to play in the New York Bowl for different reasons.
“We’re certainly disappointed,” said Empire 8 Commissioner Chuck Mitrano. “Many deserving student-athletes at Cortland will not get the opportunity they have earned. It certainly should not take away from their outstanding season.”
Cortland finished 7-3 overall and second in the E8 with a 5-2 record. The Red Dragons qualified for the postseason for the 23rd time since 1988. Cortland won the inaugural New York Bowl at Union, 35-28, last fall. The Red Dragons have also played in the NCAA playoffs nine times and in ECAC bowls on 12 occasions. Cortland Athletics is no longer an ECAC member so the Red Dragons were not eligible for selection into an ECAC bowl game.