"I am so pleased that Monmouth University will be joining our conference," said Dr. Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., President of Saint Peter's University and the MAAC Council of Presidents. "Like Saint Peter's, Monmouth is one of New Jersey's private institutions and I have gotten to know of the tremendous strength of their student body, faculty and administration. The Hawks are a welcome addition to the MAAC; strong in the classroom and on the field of play."
The MAAC was founded in 1980 by six charter members and is currently in its 32nd year of competition. The addition of Monmouth will bring the MAAC to 11 members for the 2013-14 season - Canisius College, Fairfield University, Iona College, Manhattan College, Marist College, Niagara University, Quinnipiac University (joining in 2013-14), Rider University, Saint Peter's University and Siena College.
Today, the MAAC is recognized as one of the country's most progressive conferences both in terms of supporting and promoting the promise of its student-athletes. Student-athletes in the sports of volleyball, men's and women's soccer and cross country hold their championships at ESPN's Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida, on a four-year cycle. The men's and women's golf championships are held annually in Orlando, Florida, rotating between the Palm and Magnolia golf courses. Monmouth athletics will join the MAAC in 16 of the 20 Division I sports that they offer.
"In evaluating potential new member schools, the MAAC membership has sought to maintain a brand that stresses excellence in academics and athletics, and Monmouth University fully meets that criteria," notes Richard J. Ensor, Esq., Commissioner of the MAAC. "The MAAC will be a great home for the Monmouth athletic program and the conference looks forward to its participation with the start of the 2013-14 academic year."
Monmouth University is located in West Long Branch, New Jersey, and has a long history of competitive teams that qualify for post-season play. Its men's basketball program has earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament four times (1996, 2001, 2004 and 2006). Monmouth's latest visit to the tournament resulted in its first win in the NCAA Tournament in an opening round game against Hampton University. The Hawks' men's soccer program has advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament twice, in 2009 and 2011.
Monmouth President Paul G. Gaffney said, "Monmouth is flattered by the invitation to join the MAAC. I thank the Council of Presidents for having confidence in us. While we have enjoyed our relationships with the Northeast Conference member institutions and our successes on the field, Monmouth is pleased with the opportunity to aim for new goals. There is little doubt that Monmouth and our NEC friends will find ways to continue valuable competitions. I look forward to working closely with new colleagues in the continual advancement of our new home conference."
Monmouth is home to a number of outstanding sports venues including the Multipurpose Athletic Center (MAC) - home to its men's and women's basketball programs. The MAC features a 153,200-square-foot center seating 4,100 fans, a six-lane indoor track, locker rooms, education and conference space and a fitness center. Monmouth's soccer programs compete on the Great Lawn, which has hosted three Division I Men's Soccer NCAA Tournament games.
Founded in 1933, Monmouth University offers more than 45 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and concentrations. The MAAC is composed of institutions that are strongly bound by the principles of quality and excellence in academics and athletics. Monmouth is no exception with eight of their 19 sports achieving a 100% NCAA graduation success rate. This rate is based on the number of student-athletes who entered college and the number of those who graduated within a 6-year period.
"Monmouth Athletics is looking forward to its new association with the MAAC and its member institutions with strong academic and athletics profiles," stated Monmouth Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Marilyn McNeil. "We believe this is a positive step for our University and will enhance the experience of our student-athletes. However, it is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to the Northeast Conference, and in particular, to our friends and colleagues at the league office and the respective schools. We have appreciated all of the good and respectful competition along the way and we are sorry to say goodbye."
The addition of Monmouth University adds a third MAAC member in the state of New Jersey with Rider University and Saint Peter's University being the other two. Saint Peter's was a charter member in 1980. The MAAC has a strong foothold in the Northeast regional top media markets, including New York, Hartford, Buffalo and Albany.
"After an extensive review process that involved academic, athletic, and geographic comparisons and compatibility, it is a pleasure to welcome Monmouth University as the MAAC's newest member," notes Don Harnum, Chair of the MAAC Committee on Athletic Administration and Athletic Director at Rider University. "This move not only adds stability to the conference in a time of uncertainty, but also serves to strengthen the MAAC competitively. For Rider specifically, we have always enjoyed our competitive rivalry with Monmouth and this now gives us the opportunity to renew the rivalry as members of the same conference once again."
The MAAC has the strongest television coverage of any mid-major conference in the country after partnering with ESPN to develop a league-wide national broadcast package through 2016-17. The MAAC broadcasts over 40 events annually, with a majority airing on ESPN3 as well as two regular season basketball games on ESPN or ESPN2 and eight regular season basketball games on ESPNU. The Women's Basketball Championship Final airs on ESPNU, while the Men's Basketball Championship Final airs on ESPN2.
In 2012, the MAAC marked its first year of basketball championship competition at the MassMutual Center. The Men's and Women's Basketball Championships will remain in Springfield, Massachusetts through 2014. The move to the MassMutual Center stems from the MAAC Council of Presidents' commitment to finding a neutral site for the Championships.
The MAAC also has a standing relationship with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. As part of the relationship, the MAAC has the first permanent collegiate exhibit prominently displayed in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is also host to the MAAC's Honor Roll Dinner which honors the greatest men's and women's athletes from each school. The MAAC serves at the sponsoring conference for the annual Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.