"In evaluating potential new member schools, the MAAC membership has sought to maintain a brand that stresses excellence in academics and athletics, and Quinnipiac University fully meets that criteria," notes Richard J. Ensor, Esq., Commissioner of the MAAC. "The MAAC will be a great home for the Quinnipiac athletic program and the conference looks forward to its participation with the start of the 2013-14 academic year."
The MAAC's Council of Presidents extended an invitation to Quinnipiac after their league meeting on Friday, December 14. "The Bobcats of Quinnipiac bring a strong athletics tradition to the MAAC," said Dr. Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., President of Saint Peter's University and the MAAC Council of Presidents. "I look forward to seeing them build upon this heritage within our conference. The University's academic prowess is well known, as well. They are a perfect fit for a conference like the MAAC which has always emphasized the ‘student' portion of the term ‘student-athlete.'"
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is composed of institutions that are strongly bound by the sound principles of quality and integrity in academics and excellence in athletics. Founded in 1980 by six charter members, the MAAC is currently in its 32nd year of competition. The addition of Quinnipiac will bring the MAAC to 10 members for the 2013-14 season - Canisius College, Fairfield University, Iona College, Manhattan College, Marist College, Niagara University, 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. Quinnipiac will have a full membership in the MAAC, competing in 15 MAAC sports.
"We are delighted to be joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference that will continue to advance us both athletically and academically," said Quinnipiac University President John L. Lahey. "We also want to thank the Northeast Conference which has provided collegiality and support to Quinnipiac's athletic teams since our becoming a Division I program."
Located in Hamden, Connecticut, Quinnipiac offers undergraduate and graduate degree in business, communications, health, education, law, nursing and liberal arts and sciences. Quinnipiac and the MAAC share common values of academic and athletic success with Quinnipiac's student-athletes exceeding the average four-year Academic Progress Rates for Division I institutions. The Bobcat's women's basketball, women's cross country, women's tennis and women's track programs were all publically recognized by the NCAA for their achievement of multiyear APRs in the top ten percent of all squads in each sport.
Quinnipiac' men's and women's basketball programs compete in the TD Bank Sports Center, which is a 185,000-square-foot facility that holds 3,570 fans and has state-of-the-art locker rooms, training rooms and scoreboards. Quinnipiac also boasts top-notch facilities for its soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball, volleyball and tennis programs.
"This is a historic day for Quinnipiac University," Quinnipiac Director of Athletics and Recreation Jack McDonald said. "It is truly an honor to be extended an invitation from the MAAC Presidents Council and Commissioner Rich Ensor. Since first working with Rich Ensor to start the MAAC Hockey League in 1998, I have always admired the academic mission of the MAAC membership, as well as the outstanding reputation of its athletic programs. Quinnipiac will be forever grateful to the Northeast Conference for 14 years of excellent membership, friendship, sportsmanship and great athletic competition. Without the invitation to the NEC in 1998, Quinnipiac would not be where it is today in Division I."
Quinnipiac is consistently ranked among the top regional colleges and universities in the North according to US News and World Report's America's Best Colleges and recognized in the 2012 Princeton Review "Best 376 Colleges." This year Quinnipiac was ranked 13th in "Best Regional Universities in the North" and first in "Up and Coming Universities," according to US News. Their School of Business is a "Top 100 Undergraduate Business School" for 2012 and was named one of the Top 100 "Best Undergraduate Business Schools of 2011," according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
The addition of Quinnipiac University adds a second MAAC member in the state of Connecticut, with Fairfield University being 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 Quinnipiac 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. Collectively, we all look forward to building, and in some cases expanding on, a collaborative, healthy, competitive relationship with Quinnipiac."
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.
For more coverage of the official press conference covering the announcement of Quinnipiac joining the MAAC, click here.