Edison, N.J. – The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will add field hockey as an associate sport sponsored by the conference, with league play beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.
“The MAAC is excited about sponsoring field hockey as an associate league sport as membership expansion provides added branding opportunities for the conference,” notes Richard J. Ensor, Commissioner of the MAAC. “As the MAAC athletic administrators reviewed the needs of the member institutions, it became apparent that having a core of five schools sponsoring the sport made the addition of field hockey to the MAAC Strategic Plan an obvious next step for the conference to meet the expectations of the student-athletes for a consistent championship experience.”
Four member institutions – Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University, Rider University and Siena College – will begin play this fall, while Fairfield University will join the league starting in the 2015-16 academic year, becoming the 25th sport within the conference. The MAAC will look to invite schools that sponsor field hockey within the region to join as associate members for the 2013 season.
“The addition of field hockey as a sport in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is a great opportunity, not only for the conference, but the schools involved,” said Karin Torchia, Associate Director of Athletics for External Operations and Development and Senior Woman Administrator at Rider University and member of the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Committee. “With the ever-changing conference landscape, this addition provides stability and preserves existing rivalries that have been fostered in other leagues as well as providing NCAA automatic qualifier and play-in opportunities for the student-athletes now participating in MAAC field hockey.”
The membership plan is to provide eight teams for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and nine teams when Fairfield commences league play in the 2015-16 academic year.
The MAAC has added various sports throughout the years in an effort to develop opportunities for student-athletes. In June of 1995, the conference announced the formation of the MAAC Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse leagues, with the men beginning competition in the spring of 1996 while the women commenced in the spring of 1997. The MAAC added women’s water polo in 2002, with competition currently between three MAAC schools – Iona College, Marist College and Siena – as well as four associate members: Saint Francis (N.Y.) College, Villanova University, the Virginia Military Institute and Wagner College. The MAAC also has associate members in women’s rowing (Drake University, Jacksonville University, Robert Morris University and Sacred Heart University), women’s golf (University at Albany, Boston University, Butler University and the University of Hartford) and men’s swimming & diving (Bryant University).