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America East Football & Hockey on Horizon? NEC Upgrades

Nov
21
2005
By
Category: America East Expansion & Realignment, College Hockey Expansion & Realignment, Featured News, NCAA Division 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.

Article…

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:

Albany
Maine
Stony Brook
New Hampshire
* Rhode Island
* Massachusetts

The CAA would then look as such:

Delaware
Hofstra
James Madison
Northeastern
William & Mary
Towson
* Villanova
* Richmond
* 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:
Maine
Boston University
Vermont
New Hampshire

Providence (Big East)
Boston College (ACC)
UMass (Atlantic 10)
Merrimack
UMass-Lowell
Northeastern (CAA)

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:

Atlantic Hockey:
UConn
Holy Cross
Army
Canisius
Bentley
Sacred Heart
American International
Mercyhurst

ECACHL:
St. Lawrence
Harvard
Clarkson
Colgate
Cornell
Rensselaer
Union
Dartmouth
Brown
Quinnipiac
Princeton
Yale

Niagara in the CHA would also be an option.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09650792942265756185 BigKennyK

    The America East absorbing Hockey East is a pipe dream. The 6 other schools would resist the takeover (and demotion from a full member to an associate member of a conference with divergent goals).
    The Atlantic Hockey schools are, for the most part, nonviable options. Atlantic Hockey is a limited scholarship league, and with Quinnipiac already in the ECAC, the only member who may want to upgrade is Mercyhurst, and that would pose travel problems.
    As for the ECAC schools, the Ivies will not be broken up, Q just spent some cash to buy into the league, and Union is not allowed to add scholarships. The other 4 members (RPI, Clarkson, SLU, and Colgate) would be poor replacements for any lost Hockey East team besides Merrimack.
    The CHA’s Niagara poses similar concerns to Mercyhurst.
    Personally, I chalk this story up to rumor mongering and bad reporting. If there is a nugget of truth, this move is likely being initiated by non-hockey schools, and the result is more likely to be an AEC schism, than a HEA schism. Follow the money, and for the schools that matter (UNH, UVM, BU, UMO) the answer is to do what’s best for hockey. Proponents of the other AEC members may counter that a school woulnd’t sabotage its entire department for one sport, but for hockey, these schools would. Div I hockey is the Div I-A football of northern New England.

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