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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 3:02 pm 
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UMBC added to America East
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - The America East will add the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to its conference. The announcement was made on Tuesday by commissioner Chris Monasch.

The expansion is the league's first since Binghamton joined the conference in April 2001. The other members are: Boston University, Hartford, Maine, Albany, New Hampshire, Northeastern, Stony Brook and Vermont.

"The America East Conference is very excited about the addition of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County," said Monasch. "The institution is a natural fit for the conference with an academic and athletics mission similar to our current members. The Mid-Atlantic location of UMBC, combined with our present membership in New York and New England, positions America East as a significant mid-major conference in this part of the country."

UMBC has won the Northeast Conference's Commissioner's Cup as the top overall sports program for four consecutive years. UMBC fields teams in each of the 21 American East-sponsored sports except golf.

America East champions earn automatic qualification to 12 NCAA Championships in 2002-03 -- baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, softball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, and volleyball. Individual champions at the America East Outdoor Track and Field Championship also receive bids to that NCAA Championship.

"It is an honor for UMBC to join the America East Conference," said UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III. "We are delighted to be in the company of outstanding schools such as Boston University, Northeastern, Vermont, Albany, Binghamton, and several other universities that enjoy national reputations for academic and athletic excellence."

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 4:55 pm 
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On the face of it this looks like a lateral transfer among "lower" level eastern conferences.

However, it appears the America East by taking perhaps the most competitive of schools in all sports from the Northeast is trying to move a notch up, and perhaps rival the MAAC, which is arguably the next tier in eastern based conferences. Also the America East has been a better springboard upward for Eastern schools than the NEC. Drexel, Towson, Delaware, and Hofstra all used the A.East as springboards up within 10 years of their entry.
The A.East is a better conference to be in if you are looking to be upwardly mobile in the east (among the smaller schools, obviously).

The Northeast plays a round robin in basketball which at 12 teams was very cumbersome. Perhaps this helped UMBC's decision?

Minor ripples in the expansion pool. 8-)

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