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Somerset, NJ — Northeast Conference (NEC) Commissioner Brenda Weare is pleased to announce the establishment of the NEC Men's Lacrosse League. With its inaugural season of 2010-11 on the horizon, the newly-forming men's lacrosse conference will encompass six schools, five of which are core members of the Northeast Conference currently competing in other Division I men's lacrosse leagues with the other being new NEC member Bryant, which will officially join the lacrosse league in 2010-11.
"This will allow the NEC to take part in one of the nation's fastest-growing sports while increasing opportunity for our student-athletes," said Weare, who is currently in her second year as Commissioner.
Mount St. Mary's (MAAC), Quinnipiac (GWLL), Robert Morris (CAA), Sacred Heart (CAA), and Wagner (MAAC) will end their current affiliations to join Bryant University in their home conference.
The addition of Bryant to the NEC's core membership made possible the creation of the men's lacrosse league. Transitioning into the NEC from the Division II ranks, Bryant is currently in the midst of the NCAA-mandated reclassification period that will bring the Rhode Island-based institution to full Division I membership in time for the 2012-13 academic year. Bryant's choice to utilize the NCAA's Fast Track Reclassification program for the sport of men's lacrosse will allow the conference's newest member to become a full-fledged Division I participant in the sport in time for the start of the 2010-11 season.
Having sponsored women's lacrosse since 1998, the NEC will make men's Lacrosse its 22nd sport of sponsorship. Now in its 27th season, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 11 institutions of higher learning located throughout five states. Media coverage of the NEC extends to four of the largest markets in the United States - New York (#1), Pittsburgh (#22), Baltimore (#24), and Hartford/New Haven (#29). Founded in 1981 as the basketball-only ECAC Metro Conference, the NEC has grown to sponsor 21 championship sports for men and women and now enjoys automatic or play-in access to 13 different NCAA Championships. NEC member institutions include Central Connecticut State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Long Island, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary's, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (NY), Saint Francis (PA) and Wagner. Bryant University will become a core member of the conference in 2012 upon completion of the five-year NCAA Division I reclassification period.