Edison, NJ - The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's (MAAC) Council of Presidents met in New York City for their biannual meeting last week and approved the league's new 5-Year Strategic Plan effective from 2012 through 2017.
"It has been a productive two-year process in which we examined a wide array of issues, including membership, basketball scheduling, and the future of lacrosse in the MAAC," said Mark Reed, Vice President for Administration & Chief of Staff at Fairfield University and chair of the conference's Strategic Planning Committee. "It is rewarding to see the new strategic plan passed by the MAAC Council of Presidents."
The new plan institutes a scheduling policy for men's and women's basketball effective for the 2012-13 academic year. The policy states that MAAC schools cannot schedule non-conference opponents who are ranked in the bottom 50 on the 2-year RPI report. Exceptions may be made when scheduling a traditional opponent. This policy will be evaluated on a yearly basis and reflects an effort to increase the member schools' strength of scheduling which is a key factor in post-season selection and seeding by the NCAA and NIT/WNIT committees.
The plan also continues to guarantee each member institution a minimum of three appearances on the conference's broadcast package, including at least one women's basketball appearance.
Another major component of the strategic plan is to elevate men's and women's lacrosse to core sports beginning in 2014-15. At that time, the league's members will begin a multi-year plan to increase funding for lacrosse, which will include an increase in full-time coaching positions and scholarships.
"The decision to elevate the sport of lacrosse to the level of a core sport in the MAAC is a tremendous opportunity for our conference," said Bill Maher, Director of Athletics at Canisius College. "The growth of lacrosse nationally over the past 10 years has been remarkable and this will position our member institutions to build the MAAC into one of the top leagues in the country".
In 2014-15 men's and women's tennis will be removed from the core sport list, but will continue with the four team MAAC Championships.
The Council also approved the MAAC's new six-year agreement with ESPN. In addition, they agreed to support NCAA President Mark Emmert's reform agenda, and approved the inclusion of new language in the MAAC bylaws for awarding miscellaneous expense allowance to student-athletes who receive a full grant-in-aid.
The Presidents also approved Jacksonville University's application for associate membership in men's and women's rowing. The Dolphins will begin competition in the league at the 2012 MAAC Rowing Championships at Mercer Lake, N.J., the site of the 2012 NCAA Rowing Championships hosted by the MAAC and Rider University."The number and breadth of the agenda items that were approved by the presidents is a reflection of the growth of the MAAC in multiple sports and also the continued focus on the core sports of men's and women's basketball," said league commissioner Rich Ensor. "I want to thank the Council of Presidents for their continued support of league initiatives involving sports sponsorship, branding, and support of the coaches and student-athletes that make-up the MAAC."