America East Football & Hockey on Horizon? NEC Upgrades
NEC Football Increases Scholarships; America East Football Birth?
The NEC announced that they will be expanding their scholarship limitations to 30, taking the league one step closer to the rest of I-AA football.
In other news, there are strong rumors that the America East Conference is discussing the possibility of potentially fielding it’s own football conference. Currently, America East football schools UNH and Maine participate in the Atlantic 10 which will be absorbed by the Colonial Athletic Association in the coming years. America East members Albany and Stony Brook currently participate in the NEC.
If the America East did decide to sponsor football, they would need Albany and Stony Brook to upgrade and would still need at least (2) other schools to join in order to reach the magic number 6 , the requirement to receive an automatic I-AA playoff bid. Soon-to-be CAA Football and Atlantic 10 members UMass and URI would be logical choices to join the new league.
Football membership would look as such:
* Rhode Island
The CAA would then look as such:
William & Mary
* Old Dominion (starting program in 2009)
There are also rumors that the America East is considering the creation of America East Hockey. The league would aim to absorb the current Hockey East conference name and sponsorship. Current members of Hockey East include:
America East Members:
Providence (Big East)
Boston College (ACC)
UMass (Atlantic 10)
Fearing the loss of quality top members Maine, UNH and Boston University, the remaining Hockey East members would have to consider the conference sponsorship change. If not, the America East could look towards other programs from the ECACHL for membership or targets could come from the Atlantic Hockey league:
Niagara in the CHA would also be an option.