Thursday, February 14, 2013

UMass Lowell officialy joins America East

LOWELL, Mass. — The newest member of the America East Conference was introduced on Thursday.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell will elevate all of its athletic programs to the Division I level and join the conference, which is the league that the University at Albany belongs to for all sports except football.

The America East Board of Presidents unanimously approved UMass-Lowell as a member of the conference effective July 1, 2013. The move also received the unanimous support of UMass Lowell’s Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Student Government Association.

The River Hawks will fill the void left by Boston University, which is leaving for the Patriot League. UMass Lowell will not be eligible for postseason play until four-year reclassification period is over, just before the 2017-18 season. 

“I am thrilled to welcome UMass Lowell as the newest member of America East,” said league commissioner Amy Huchthausen. “All throughout the membership evaluation process, our conference’s leadership has stressed the importance of finding peer institutions with similar profiles and infrastructure of strong academics, competitive athletics programs and outstanding facilities. UMass Lowell has those assets and will strengthen America East in all facets.”

With the exception of its Division I men’s ice hockey team, UMass Lowell has been a member of NCAA Division II since 1975 and a member of the Northeast-10 Conference since 2000.

“UMass Lowell is proud to have been chosen to join the America East Conference, not just on the basis of the strengths of our outstanding athletics programs and facilities, but also because of the university’s excellence in academics, researchs and vibrant campus life,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.

The addition of UMass Lowell is the first expansion since 2002, when UMBC was elected to membership effective for the 2003-04 academic year.

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