Following a week of speculation, the Metro Atlantic Athletic
Conference is expanding.
Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University both announced
Friday they are joining the league for the 2013-14 academic year.
The invitations were extended after the conference’s
presidents met Friday morning in New York.
Both schools currently reside in the Northeast Conference
and will have to pay a $250,000 exit fee to join the MAAC, according to NEC
“We’re excited about it,” said Rider University athletic
director Don Harnum. “We have a good, friendly rivalry with Monmouth. We’ve
maintained that relationship with them even after we left the NEC. We play in
field hockey, soccer, softball … I think it’s a good fit geographically,
academically and athletically.”
This brings the total number of schools in the league to 11.
Loyola University (Md.) is leaving at the end of the year to join the Patriot
Harnum said conference presidents and athletic directors
began discussing expansion with commissioner Richard Ensor long before Loyola
announced it was leaving, but that the Maryland school’s departure, “expedited
“It wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction,” Harnum said.
Monmouth, located in
West Long Branch, has 21 varsity sports and a state-of-the-art arena, the $57
million Multipurpose Athletic Center (MAC). The school will remain in the NEC
for football, field hockey and bowling after it applies for associate membership.
The MAAC does not offer any of those three sports.
“There is already a
built-in rivalry,” said Rider basketball coach Kevin Baggett, whose team beat
Monmouth, 65-62 on Nov. 17. “It changes the recruiting dynamic because we’re
both chasing the same kind of players now. It’s going to make the rivalry more
The Broncs are 12-4
against the Hawks since leaving the NEC in 1997 and lead the all-time series 23-15.
Rider is an
associate member of the NEC in field hockey, winning the last three conference
The Hawks also bring
with them a top-25 men’s soccer team that has reached the NCAA tournament in
three of the last four seasons.
"Monmouth entering the MAAC immediately makes us a more competitive
conference," said Rider soccer coach Charlie Inverso, whose Broncs lost to the Hawks, 2-0, this season. "They are well coached and play good soccer. They try to play
the right way."
in Hamden, Conn., also has 21 varsity sports. It plays in the $52 million TD
Bank Sports Center. The venue has two separate arenas for basketball and
“It’s the mode you
have to be in with so much uncertainty and instability with conference
affiliation,” Harum said. “It was only a matter of time until all the movement
filtered down to the mid-major level.”
impressed with how aggressively the conference acted.
realize how good and how underrated this league is,” said Baggett, whose team
is 6-5 in his first year in charge. “It’s a feather in our cap that we’re able
to add those two programs. It shows that our league is proactive.”
This likely isn’t
the end of realignment. The seven catholic schools that helped make up the Big East — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Villanova — announced Thursday they are ready to divorce themselves from
That could cause a
trickle down to the mid-major level.
“It would be foolish
for any conference, commissioner or A.D. to think everything is done,” Harnum
When asked if there
was anything else he would add to the realignment discussion, Harnum said,
He added that Rider
is happy with its place in the MAAC and the recent moves “help stabilize the