UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The Empire 8 conference, which includes area schools Utica University and Hartwick College, announced yesterday morning that it would be expanding its playoff brackets for certain sports to accommodate the additions of Keuka College in 2020 as its ninth member and Medaille University in 2022 as its tenth.

There will be seven sports that will add postseason spots to their playoffs, men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball will add a bye for the second overall seed in their tournament, they all move to six team playoffs, while softball will add another team and give the first overall seed a bye, moving to a five-team playoff. Baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s tennis will all remain at their current playoff capacity.

This change does not affect Utica University men’s or women’s ice hockey, who currently play in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC), or football for the conference in any way, football decides their conference champion by regular season record. The goal of expanded playoffs is to give more student-athletes the opportunity to compete in the E8 postseason and possibly earn the automatic NCAA Tournament bid if they can win the league title.