About The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Courtesy:  MAAC Sports
Release:  July 18, 2012

The MAAC Story: Excellence in Academics & Athletics

With 11 institutions strongly bound by the sound principles of quality and integrity in academics and excellence in athletics, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is in its 36th year of competition during the 2016-2017 academic year. The MAAC enters 2016-2017 as one of just two Division I conferences with three full-time female Athletic Directors (Marianne Reilly – Manhattan College, Dr. Marilyn McNeil – Monmouth University, and Boe Pearman – Saint Peter’s University).

The MAAC was founded in 1980 by six charter members: the U.S. Military Academy, Fairfield University, Fordham University, Iona College, Manhattan College and Saint Peter's College. Competition followed one year later in the fall of 1981 with members competing in the sports of men's cross country and men's soccer. On January 2, 1982, Army traveled to Iona for the first MAAC men's basketball game and the MAAC story had begun.

Current Conference members include: Canisius College, Fairfield University, Iona College, Manhattan College, Marist College, Monmouth University, Niagara University, Quinnipiac University, Rider University, Saint Peter's University, and Siena College. In addition, associate members include the University of Detroit Mercy in men's lacrosse and Jacksonville University in men’s rowing; La Salle University, St. Francis (Brooklyn) College, Villanova University, Virginia Military Institute and Wagner College are all associate members in Women's Water Polo. Drake University, Jacksonville University, Robert Morris University, Sacred Heart University, and Stetson University compete in women's rowing, while the University at Albany, University of Dayton, and the University of Hartford, and La Salle University take part in women’s golf competition. Bryant University, LIU Brooklyn and Sacred Heart University compete in field hockey, while Bryant University is a member in men’s swimming & diving. The MAAC will support 25 sports and championships during the 2016-2017 academic year; in addition, the MAAC champion earns automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship in 16 sports.

The MAAC Basketball Championships returns to the Times Union Center in Albany, NY for its final year of a three-year agreement, and will continue to be held at the Times Union Center through 2019. The 2017 MAAC Basketball Championships will mark the 18th time that Albany has hosted the championships, more than any other site. By having an excellent working relationship with various facilities, the MAAC has been able to attract a number of NCAA Championship events. In 2016-2017, the MAAC will host the NCAA Division I Cross Country Northeast Regional at Van Cortlandt Park with Iona College and Manhattan College, the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball First & Second Rounds at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY with Canisius College and Niagara University marking the fifth time that all three parties will partner for this same event (2004, 2007, 2010, and 2014), and the 2017 NCAA Division I, II, & III Rowing Championships with the Ivy League at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, NJ. Most recently, the MAAC along with Siena College successfully hosted the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball East Regional at the Times Union Center, which was the highest selling site amongst all four regionals. In 2014, the MAAC, Canisius College and Niagara University successfully hosted the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Second and Third Rounds at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY. The MAAC and Fairfield University hosted the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Regional at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT. The MAAC and Rider University hosted the 2012 NCAA Rowing Championships at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, NJ and also co-hosted the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The MAAC and Rider University co-hosted the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship Regional at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ, after recording the third highest attendance figure for the women's championship with the First and Second Rounds in 2006.

In June of 1995, the MAAC developed new opportunities for student-athletes as the conference announced the formation of the MAAC Men's and Women's Lacrosse Leagues. The men's league began competition in the spring of 1996, while the women's league commenced in the spring of 1997.  Since their inception as associate sports leagues, both men’s and women’s lacrosse have been upgraded to full MAAC sports. The men's league currently consists of six MAAC schools - Canisius, Manhattan, Marist, Monmouth, Quinnipiac and Siena - and one associate member – the University of Detroit Mercy. The women's league features competition among nine MAAC institutions - Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Monmouth, Niagara, Quinnipiac, and Siena. 

In the spring of 2014, the MAAC expanded the championship field to six teams in men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, women’s lacrosse, softball, and baseball. Additionally, the MAAC membership agreed that the highest seeded team should generally host the MAAC championship.

MAAC Associate Sports

In 2002, the MAAC added the MAAC Women’s Water Polo League. The league is currently made up of three MAAC schools - Iona, Marist and Siena - as well as five associate members, La Salle University, St. Francis (Brooklyn), Villanova, Virginia Military Institute, and Wagner.

Sacred Heart began participation in MAAC Women’s Rowing in the spring of 2008. Drake University joined the league for the 2010 MAAC Championship, while Robert Morris began competition in the spring of 2011. In 2012 Jacksonville University brought its men’s and women’s teams into MAAC Rowing, and Stetson University joined the league in 2014.

MAAC women’s golf competition is comprised of five member schools – Fairfield, Monmouth, Niagara, Quinnipiac, and Siena – and three associate members – the University at Albany, the University of Dayton, and the University of Hartford.

For the first time in league history, an associate member was added in men’s swimming & diving when Bryant University joined the league in the summer of 2012.

In April of 2013 the MAAC added field hockey as a sponsored sport with competition beginning in the fall of the 2013-14 academic year between four member institutions – Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University, Rider University, and Siena College. In June of 2013 the MAAC added associate members to the Field Hockey League - Bryant University and Sacred Heart University, bringing the MAAC to six teams for 2014. Most recently, MAAC member Fairfield University joined the league for the 2015-16 academic year. In the winter of 2015, LIU Brooklyn joined the league and began competition in the fall of 2016-17. In March of 2015, former MAAC member La Salle University joined the league in women’s golf and water polo, and begins competition in 2016-17.

Academics and Athletics

The MAAC prides itself on the accomplishments of its student-athletes in the classroom, as well as on the field. Mary Beth Riley, a 1991 graduate of Canisius, was the first recipient of the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. In the fall of 1998, Erin Whalen, a member of the Iona women’s rowing team, was awarded one of the nation’s 32 Rhodes Scholarships for academic achievement and civic leadership. 

In 2015, all eleven Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schools had at least one team that posted multi-year APR’s in the top 10% of all squads in each sport, with Fairfield, Siena, Canisius and Niagara having 6, 6, 5, and 4 teams respectively in the top 10% in each sport. Monmouth's women's tennis team is one of 129 teams that have earned Public Recognition Awards each of the 10 years they have been awarded.

First-class facilities are the rule with MAAC schools, as teams regularly play in top-notch arenas, such as Madison Square Garden, the Barclays Center, the MassMutual Center, the IZOD Center, First Niagara Center, Times Union Center, the Webster Bank Arena, Mohegan Sun Arena, and the Sun National Bank Center. This year, the MAAC will take the men's and women's cross country championship to Orlando, Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The 2017 MAAC Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships will be held at Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course.

In the past several years, a number of the MAAC schools have also enjoyed success in NCAA Basketball Championships. MAAC schools have played in a total of 85 NIT games and 83 NCAA games. In 2015, Siena College’s women’s basketball team became the first MAAC women’s basketball program to make it to a postseason championship game. The Saints advanced all the way to the title contest of the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) where Siena fell to Louisiana-Lafayette. In 2014, Siena men’s basketball team claimed the league’s first basketball postseason title in its history by winning the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) title. In 2013, the MAAC had a record six men’s basketball programs participate in postseason play- Iona (NCAA Championship), Niagara (NIT), Canisius, Fairfield, Loyola, and Rider (CIT). Canisius and Loyola both advanced to the Quarterfinal round, while Rider reached the second round. In 2012, the MAAC had two teams advance to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship for the first time in 16 years, with Loyola earning the league’s automatic bid and Iona garnering an at-large bid. In 2007, the Marist women’s basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to the eventual National Champion, the University of Tennessee.  The Red Foxes have recorded an additional five NCAA wins since their run in 2007.

The MAAC has also been a leader in the forefront of technology, expanding the notoriety of the league into cyberspace. In 2007, the league reached an agreement with JumpTV, Inc., now NeuLion, Inc., to design and host the MAAC web page. MAACSports.com has been a great success, providing fans with up-to-date contest results, live and on-demand video and an online merchandise store. The MAAC, in conjunction with NeuLion, launched an iPhone app in February 2011, followed by Android and iPad apps that were released during the 2011-12 academic year.

In September 2011, the conference announced the launch of MAAC.TV, the league’s first broadband network. Eight schools - Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Monmouth, Rider, and Saint Peter’s - are currently part of the network, which broadcast over 400 live events in 2014-15.

In May 2014, the MAAC continued to grow its partnership with ESPN3 announcing the launch of the MAAC Branded ESPN3 Channel. All MAAC and school produced ESPN3 broadcasts are viewable as live or archived contents for all MAAC sports. During the 2014-15 season, the MAAC schools of Fairfield, Monmouth, Rider, and Siena broadcasted a total 49 combined school produced broadcasts. Canisius and Iona began school producing broadcasts along with the other four schools in 2015-16. The initiative increases the MAAC’s long-term partnership with ESPN and is concurrent with the development of school based production facilities on many of the conference’s member campuses.

The MAAC President for the 2016-2017 academic year is Dr. Brennan O’Donnell, the President of Manhattan College. The Vice-President is Gregory G. Dell'Omo, the President of Rider University. Commissioner Rich Ensor serves as the league’s Secretary/Treasurer. , Eugene Doris Director of Athletics at Fairfield University, will chair the Committee on Athletic Administration, and Traci Murphy, Senior Woman Administrator at Canisius College will serve as Vice Chair. 

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