WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Monmouth University announced today it will accept the invitation of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) to join the conference, effective July 1, 2013. Monmouth, which fields 21 NCAA Division I athletic teams, will begin competition in the MAAC during the 2013-14 academic year.
Monmouth President Paul G. Gaffney said, “Monmouth is flattered by the invitation to join the MAAC. I thank the Council of Presidents for having confidence in us. While we have enjoyed our relationships with the NEC member institutions and our successes on the field, Monmouth is pleased with the opportunity to aim for new goals. There is little doubt that Monmouth and our NEC friends will find ways to continue valuable competitions. I look forward to working closely with new colleagues in the continual advancement of our new home conference.”
Monmouth University Chair of the Board of Trustees Robert Sculthorpe ’63 agreed, indicating that the Board of Trustees fully supports this move as a progressive opportunity to positively impact the Monmouth brand in the Northeast.
“Monmouth Athletics is looking forward to its new association with the MAAC conference and its member institutions with strong academic and athletics profiles,” stated Monmouth Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Marilyn McNeil. “We believe this is a positive step for our University and will enhance the experience of our student-athletes. However, it is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to the Northeast conference, and in particular, to our friends and colleagues at the league office and the respective schools. We have appreciated all of the good and respectful competition along the way and we are sorry to say goodbye.”
“In evaluating potential new member schools the MAAC membership has sought to maintain a brand the stresses excellence in academics and athletics and Monmouth University fully meets that criteria,” notes MAAC Commissioner Richard J. Ensor. “The MAAC will be a great home for the Monmouth athletic program and the conference looks forward to the start of their participation with the start of the 2013-14 academic year.”
“I am so pleased that Monmouth University will be joining our conference,” added Saint Peter’s University President Eugene Cornacchia. “Like Saint Peter's, Monmouth is one of New Jersey's private institutions and I have gotten to know of the tremendous strength of their student body, faculty and administration. The Hawks are a welcome addition to the MAAC; strong in the classroom and on the field of play.”
Monmouth, which joined the Northeast Conference in 1985-86, won a total of 63 Northeast Conference Championships, 35 NEC Regular Season titles, and made 19 NCAA Tournament Appearances as a member of the league.
The Hawks also captured five Commissioner’s Cup trophies since 1997-98, nine men’s sports commissioner’s cup titles and finished in the top-two in 14 of the 15 years.
Monmouth is a private, mid-sized, coeducational, comprehensive University founded in 1933. It serves residential and commuter students in eight schools and is less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean on the Jersey Shore in West Long Branch, New Jersey. The 156-acre campus features 54 buildings, including historic landmarks and state-of-the-art facilities.
“MU looks forward to continuing its positive relationship with the NEC in football, field hockey and bowling," said McNeil. Monmouth will apply for associate membership in those three sports.”
With the addition of Monmouth, the MAAC, founded in 1980, will boast 10 institutions strongly bound by the sound principles of quality and integrity in academics and excellence in athletics.
Current Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference member institutions include: Canisius College, Fairfield University, Iona College, Loyola University Maryland (moving to the Patriot League in 2013), Manhattan College, Marist College, Niagara University, Rider University, Saint Peter's University, and Siena College.
From MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor:
On behalf of the MAAC Council of Presidents and the Committee on Athletic Administration I am pleased to announce that Monmouth University has been offered and has accepted membership in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference starting on July 1, 2013.
The MAAC’s expansion discussion have been ongoing for some five year since the league issued a strategic plan that called for a goal of having a 12 school conference model a long-term goal. This was before the current realignment atmosphere that has seen 25 of the NCAA’s 31 conferences undergo membership changes. Certainly, when the MAAC experienced a loss of a member school in August, expansion became a higher priority, but the groundwork of what the conference wanted in the expansion process had been put in place. The goals included seeking out:
• Institutions that strive for success in academics and athletics
• Institutions that share admissions standards with MAAC schools
• Institutions that desire to expand their enrollment base beyond traditional local markets
• Institutions that fund athletic programs within the same general expenditure range
• Institutions that place a focus on student-athletes, their welfare and growth as individuals
• Institutions that feature basketball as a sport of emphasis, but support the MAAC’s core sports requirements including soccer, lacrosse and others
• Institutions that place value and have a commitment towards broadcasting their sports on ESPN and support webcasting of sports in general
• Institutions that have upgraded basketball facilities, have invested in hiring and supporting coaching staffs that strive for success on the court and in the classroom and
• Institutions that understand the value of branding and would share a mutual commitment with the other member schools to improving the MAAC brand.
As I commute on the Parkway in the evening I listen to the NPR Marketplace Show where they often ask CEO’s to describe their company brand in 5 words. As I hear that I note that’s easy for the MAAC, “Excellence in Academics and Athletics”. The MAAC membership has sought to maintain a brand that stresses excellence in academics and athletics and Monmouth University fully meets that criteria.
As a son of the Jersey Shore, growing up in Bricktown, summer on the Manasquan beaches and high school in Toms River at what is now Monsignor Donovan H.S., and now having raised a family in Lacey Township, I have long been familiar with Monmouth University and its growth as a leader in education and athletics in New Jersey. I’ve read the Asbury Park Press my whole life and often told the MAAC staff than I knew more about the Monmouth athletic program’s daily successes than many of the MAAC’s.
This knowledge only grew more in depth as I had the opportunity to serve for 5 years with Marilyn McNeil on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee where we sometimes butted heads, but more often fought for the mid major agenda on the committee. No one is a stronger advocate for Monmouth athletics than Marilyn and when expansion became an active agenda item in the MAAC she was one of the first persons I reached out to for a membership discussions. Expansion is a business decision, but personal relationships often open the door for that decision to occur. It certainly was a factor in this case.
I want to thank President Paul Gaffney for his interest in the MAAC and for all his hard work throughout the expansion process and I welcome the Monmouth University coaches, student-athletes and staff to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Monmouth University Athletics will hold a press conference in the Eyas Lounge of the Multipurpose Activity Center on Monday, December 17 at 1:00 p.m., which is open to all media members and the general public.
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