The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC)
All Rider Sports with the exception of
Field Hockey (NEC) and Wrestling (CAA)
2012-2013 MAAC Story
With 10 institutions strongly bound by the sound principles of quality and integrity in academics and excellence in athletics, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is in its 32nd year of competition during the 2012-2013 academic year.
The MAAC was founded in 1980 by six charter members: the U.S. Military Academy, Fairfield University, Fordham University, Iona College, Manhattan College and Saint Peter's College. Competition followed one year later in the fall of 1981 with members competing in the sports of men's cross country and men's soccer. On January 2, 1982, Army traveled to Iona for the first MAAC men's basketball game and the MAAC story had begun.
Current Conference members include: Canisius College, Fairfield University, Iona College, Loyola University Maryland, Manhattan College, Marist College, Niagara University, Rider University, Saint Peter's University, and Siena College. In addition, associate members include the University of Detroit Mercy, Jacksonville University and Virginia Military Institute in men's lacrosse. St. Francis (N.Y.) College, Villanova University, VMI and Wagner College are all associate members of the MAAC Women's Water Polo League. Drake University, Jacksonville University, Robert Morris University and Sacred Heart University compete in women's rowing, while the University at Albany, Boston University and the University of Hartford began competition in women's golf in the spring of 2010. The MAAC will support 24 sports and championships during the 2012-2013 academic year. The MAAC has automatic qualification to 15 NCAA Championships, with the MAAC being eligible for women's rowing for the first time in the spring of 2013.
The MAAC Basketball Championships returns to Springfield's MassMutual Center for the 2013 and 2014 championships, which will be co-hosted by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. By having an excellent working relationship with various facilities, the MAAC has been able to attract a number of NCAA Championship events. Most recently, the MAAC and Rider hosted the 2012 NCAA Rowing Championships at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, New Jersey. The MAAC and Rider also co-hosted the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The MAAC, Canisius College and Niagara University successfully hosted the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York. All three parties hosted the event in 2004 and 2007. The MAAC and Rider University co-hosted the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship Regional at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, N.J., after recording the third highest attendance figure for the women's championship with the First and Second Rounds in 2006. The MAAC and Rider will work together to co-host the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship Regional at Sun National Bank Center in Trenton.
MAAC Associate Sports
In June of 1995, the MAAC continued to develop opportunities for student-athletes as the conference announced the formation of the MAAC Men's and Women's Lacrosse Leagues. The men's league began competition in the spring of 1996, while the women's league commenced in the spring of 1997. The men's league consists of four MAAC schools - Canisius, Manhattan, Marist, and Siena - and three associate members - Detroit, Jacksonville and Virginia Military Institute. The women's league consists of MAAC institutions Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Niagara and Siena.
In 2002, the MAAC added the MAAC Women's Water Polo League. The league is currently made up of three MAAC schools - Iona, Marist and Siena - as well as four associate members, St. Francis (N.Y.), Villanova, VMI and Wagner.
Sacred Heart started participating in MAAC Women's Rowing in the spring of 2008. Drake University joined the league for the 2010 MAAC Championship, while Robert Morris began competition in the spring of 2011.
In the summer of 2009, the MAAC added three associate members - Albany, Boston University and Hartford - to women's golf, with the programs starting competition against MAAC members Fairfield, Niagara and Siena in 2009-2010.
Academics and Athletics
The MAAC prides itself on the accomplishments of its student-athletes in the classroom, as well as on the field. Mary Beth Riley, a 1991 graduate of Canisius, was the first recipient of the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. In the fall of 1998, Erin Whalen, a member of the Iona women's rowing team, was awarded one of the nation's 32 Rhodes Scholarships for academic achievement and civic leadership. Jose Vargas, a Loyola student, was also awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1999.
First-class facilities are the rule with MAAC schools, as teams regularly play in top-notch arenas, such as Madison Square Garden, the MassMutual Center, the IZOD Center, First Niagara Center, HSBC Arena, Times Union Center, the Webster Bank Arena, and the Sun National Bank Center. The other MAAC championships boast their share of outstanding locales as well, such as the Reverend Harold Ridley, S.J., Athletic Complex at Loyola, where the men's soccer championship will be contested in the fall of 2012, and Waterfront Park in Trenton, New Jersey, home of the 2013 MAAC Baseball Championship. This year, the MAAC will take the men's and women's cross country championships to Orlando, Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The 2013 MAAC Men's and Women's Golf Championships will be held at Disney's Palm Golf Course.
In the past several years, a number of the MAAC schools have also enjoyed success in NCAA Championships. MAAC schools have made a total of 80 NIT appearances and 50 NCAA appearances. For the first time in 16 years, the MAAC had two teams advance to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, with Loyola earning the league's automatic bid and Iona garnering an at-large bid. In March 2012, Fairfield and Manhattan participated in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, with the Stags advancing to the semifinals. The Manhattan women participated in the Women's Basketball Invitational, reaching the semifinal round of the tournament for the second consecutive season. In 2007, the Marist women's basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to the eventual National Champion, the University of Tennessee. The Red Foxes have recorded five NCAA wins since their runs in 2007. In the fall of 2011, the Iona men's cross country team finished tied for ninth place at the NCAA Championship race, extended the Gaels' streak to 10 straight Top 10 national finishes.
The MAAC has also been a leader in the forefront of technology, expanding the notoriety of the league into cyberspace. In 2007, the league reached an agreement with JumpTV, Inc., now NeuLion, Inc., to design and host the MAAC web page. MAACSports.com has been a great success, providing fans with up-to-date contest results, live and on-demand video and an online merchandise store. The MAAC, in conjunction with NeuLion, launched an iPhone app in February 2011, followed by Android and iPad apps that were released during the 2011-12 academic year.
In September 2011, the conference announced the launch of MAAC.TV , the league's first broadband network. Six schools - Canisius, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Rider, and Saint Peter's - are currently part of the network, which broadcast over 400 live events in 2011-12.
The MAAC President for the 2012-2013 academic year is Dr. Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., the President of Saint Peter's University. The Vice-President is John J. Hurley, the President of Canisius College. Don Harnum, Director of Athletics at Rider University, will chair the Committee on Athletic Administration, and Joyce Eggleston, Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator at Siena College will serve as Vice Chair.
The Northeast Conference (NEC) - Rider Field Hockey
The NEC Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary Season In 2010-11
Northeast Conference History
When the Northeast Conference (NEC) was first established as the ECAC-Metro Conference back in 1981, the league's founders had one goal in mind: to create a competitive NCAA Division I men's basketball conference for unaffiliated schools on the Eastern seaboard. A single-sport entity at its inception, the NEC has grown far beyond expectations over the past three decades, having transformed itself into a burgeoning 12-member, 23-sport conference. To mark the NEC's 30th Anniversary season in 2010-11, the Conference will proudly celebrate its heritage as its builds toward a promising future.
The NEC and its member institutions are committed to providing opportunities for student-athletes to achieve their fullest potential both in athletic competition and in the classroom. Likewise, the Conference continually strives to be an NCAA Division I leader for athletic success, academic achievement and integrity, sportsmanship, equity and diversity, community partnership and national engagement.
The remarkable success story of the conference began to unfold in 1985, when the league began sponsoring additional sports. Three years later, a change of name was in order and the Northeast Conference as we know it today was born. With membership and sport sponsorship continuing to grow over the next 25 years, the NEC now enjoys qualification or play-in access to 14 different NCAA Championships (baseball, men's and women's basketball, field hockey, football, men's and women's golf, women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball).
Though the NEC has featured various incarnations since its inception, charter members Fairleigh Dickinson, Long Island, Robert Morris, St. Francis (NY), Saint Francis (PA) and Wagner remain part of the current 12-school alignment. They are joined by Monmouth (admitted in 1985), Mount St. Mary's (1989), Central Connecticut State (1997), Quinnipiac (1998) and Sacred Heart (1999). NEC expansion continues with the addition of Bryant University in 2012 as the league's 12th member, which will give the league a six-state geographic footprint with access to such major media markets as New York City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Hartford and Providence.
NEC member institutions now compete in 23 championship sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, women's bowling, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's and women's golf, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's outdoor track and field, men's and women's soccer, softball, women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, and women's volleyball.
Northeast Conference Website/Television
More widely-recognized than ever, the NEC continues to expand its new media initiatives to cater to a growing fan base.
The Conference has embraced social media with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, all of which have attracted loyal followings. The NEC also provides its fans with NEC On The Run podcast segments, weekly NEC Notebook spots (that also air on Sports Radio 66 WFAN in New York City and ESPN Radio 1250 in Pittsburgh) and video blogs. To further enhance its multimedia efforts, the league launched satellite website, www.northeastconference.tv, last fall. The site serves as the league's webcast hub and offers an event archive dating back two years. A women's basketball regular season Game of the Week along with ten conference championships (men's and women's soccer, field hockey, volleyball, women's basketball, women's bowling, men's and women's lacrosse, softball and baseball) made up the 2009-10 webcast package. The Conference also plans a summer relaunch of its official website, www.northeastconference.org.
To supplement one of the premier regional basketball television packages in the country, the conference also produces a football package and a preseason basketball show entitled NEC Countdown to Tipoff. Over the last five years, the Conference has televised nearly 150 events, as the league's coverage area expanded to over 50 million homes. Along with flagship station MSG Network, other regional television partners include MSG Plus, FSN-Pittsburgh, MASN, NESN, Fox College Sports, Cox Cable and the Connecticut Sports Network. In 2010, ESPN broadcast the men's basketball championship game for the 23rd straight year, while ESPNU carried the women's championship game, marking the third year in a row the women's contest reached a nationwide audience.
The Northeast Conference's commitment to academic excellence led to national recognition for both individual student-athletes and the league's member institutions as a whole in 2009-10. NEC student-athletes graduated at an 84.7 percent rate, which is well above the national average of 79 percent according to NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) data. Likewise, a total of 19 NEC teams garnered public recognition from the NCAA for their latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores. The league placed 33 representatives on ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District teams, one of whom - Monmouth men's soccer player Daniel Bostock - went on to garner Academic All-America Honors. On a conference-wide level, more than 2,200 student-athletes qualified for the NEC Academic Honor Roll, a 13 percent increase from the previous year, while nearly 500 were named to the Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll with GPAs of 3.75 or higher. Student-athletes at Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Francis (PA) posted combined GPAs of 3.24 to share the NEC Institutional Academic Award.
The NEC's exposure was widened on a national basis as the Conference sent representatives to NCAA Championship events in 13 different team sports in 2009-10, while NEC student-athletes individually qualified to compete for an NCAA title in women's tennis, along with men's and women's golf.
In the league's highest profile event of the year - played before the largest crowd in conference history at the TD Bank Sports Center - Robert Morris defeated Quinnipiac, 52-50, to become the first men's basketball program since the mid-90's to repeat as NEC champion; RMU then captivated a nationwide audience with a near upset of #2 seed Villanova in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Less than a month later, the Conference drew headlines as Fairleigh Dickinson won the NCAA Women's Bowling championship with a thrilling 4-3 win over Nebraska in the title match televised live by ESPN. The championship was historical in nature as it marked the first such title for a Northeast Conference institution in a league-sponsored sport. In just its second year sponsoring the sport, the NEC featured six teams ranked in the top-15 of the National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) poll during the 2009-10 campaign.
The Monmouth men's soccer program and Long Island softball team also found success on the national stage. After winning its fifth consecutive regular season crown, Monmouth went on to capture the NEC Tournament title and earned the opportunity to host #12 UConn on the Great Lawn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Before a sellout crowd, the Hawks advanced past the Huskies in penalty kicks. The Hawks ranked as high as fifth and finished the season ranked 13th nationally in the NSCAA/adidas poll. Long Island softball completed an unprecedented season on the diamond by becoming the first team in NEC history to reach an NCAA Regional final in the sport. The Blackbirds defeated #21 UMass and Boston University before falling to #13 Arizona State.
In football, Central Connecticut State won its first NEC football crown since 2005 and represented the Conference in the fourth Gridiron Classic. The Long Island women's volleyball program continued its dominance with a sixth straight Northeast Conference championship last fall. It marks the longest active title streak in the conference in any sport. In its first season of competition, NEC newcomer Bryant ran away with the baseball regular season title. The stage was also set for the official launch of men's lacrosse in 2010-11 as Mount St. Mary's advanced to the NCAA Tournament after capturing the MAAC Championship. Bryant claimed the biggest win of the season with a 9-7 conquest of #9 Yale in April and Robert Morris reached as high as #19 in the USILA national poll.
Individually, six NEC student-athletes received All-America honors in their respective sports. Monmouth senior attacker Ryan Kinne was named a first team NSCAA/adidas All-American in men's soccer, while his teammate, senior defender Daniel Bostock, was tabbed to the second team. Two members of the FDU national champion women's bowling team - Sara Litteral and Erica Perez - were named All-Americans by the National Tenpin Coaches Association. For Perez, it marked her fourth consecutive honor, while Litteral was recognized for the second straight year. CCSU baseball star Sean Allaire was tabbed a third team ABCA and Louisville Slugger All-American and Blue Devil running back James Mallory was named to the Associated Press and AFCA All-American teams, and was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the outstanding college football player at the FCS level. Bryant catcher Jeff Vigurs (Cubs) and Sacred Heart's Mike Drowne (Dodgers) were selected in the 2010 MLB Draft.
Sacred Heart captured its third straight Brenda Weare Commissioner's Cup. The Pioneers also claimed a fourth straight Joan Martin Women's Commissioner's Cup. The Men's Cup was won by Monmouth for the eighth time in the last nine years.
On Campus/In The Community
The NEC welcomed the class of 2013 to campus last summer with a Freshman Orientation gift bag promotion, the first step in a new outreach program developed as a by-product of the NEC Strategic Plan. Over 10,000 freshmen students across the membership were introduced to the Conference with promotional items, including an informative NEC Fan Guide.
The NEC also participated in the NCAA's Respect Campaign, an effort to promote an environment of respect and integrity at Conference events. The marketing campaign included co-branded NEC/NCAA banners, logos and print ads, along with public address announcements and personalized spots that ran during institutional radio and webcasts.
The NEC, its member institutions and student-athletes have made community involvement an important piece of its mission. In 2009-10, the NEC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee made its annual visit to the Cancer Recovery Foundation in Hershey, PA in February. The SAAC coordinated a leaguewide "Penny Wars" fundraiser that resulted in a significant donation to the organization. NEC field hockey programs participated in a Be the Match Challenge, which helped facilitate matches for potential bone marrow donors. The drive resulted in more than 650 people signing up for the national Be The Match Registry. To assist in raising breast cancer awareness, NEC women's volleyball teams supported "Dig Pink" for the first time on a conference basis this season, while women's basketball teams also participated in the WBCA's "Pink Zone" promotion. Additionally, the Sacred Heart SAAC was the recipient of the 2010 NCAA SAAC Award of Excellence.
Evolving and Expanding
In recent years, the NEC has taken aim at upgrading the caliber of the league's championship sports and enhancing the opportunities and experiences for the more than 4,000 student-athletes that compete in the conference. The Conference will contest its first men's lacrosse championship this year and has upgraded its women's swimming and diving championship venue with its move to MIT in 2011. This fall, the NEC will gain automatic access to the Division I Football Championship for the first time, making football the 14th team sport in which NEC student-athletes are guaranteed a chance to compete for an NCAA crown. Set to embark on a number of new initiatives as part of the league's Strategic Plan - including the creation of an NEC Athletic Hall of Fame - the NEC and its member institutions are committed to the future growth of the Conference.
The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) - Rider Wrestling
Fresh off the celebration of its 25th Anniversary, the Colonial Athletic Association enters its third decade with two new members and an expanded geographic footprint that gives the conference a presence in five of the nation’s nine largest metropolitan areas.
The addition of Georgia State University in Atlanta and Northeastern University in Boston brings the membership of the CAA to 12 and enhances the league’s reputation as one of the nation’s top collegiate conferences both athletically and academically. On the playing field, the CAA has produced 16 national team champions in five different sports, 33 individual national champions, 11 national coaches of the year, 11 national players of the year and 12 Honda Award winners. Even more impressive, however, are the honors accumulated away from competition, which include five Rhodes Scholars and 16 NCAA post-graduate scholars. In 2004-05, the CAA had seven CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and more than 1,500 student-athletes posted at least a 3.2 grade point average while lettering in a varsity sport and received the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award.
The landscape of the conference now stretches along the majority of the East Coast, and includes six of the nation’s top 25 media markets – New York (1), Philadelphia (4), Boston (5), Washington, D.C. (8), Atlanta (9) and Baltimore (23). The number of television homes in the CAA market exceeds 19 million.
The CAA conducts championships in 21 sports. Male athletes compete for championships in baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and wrestling. Female athletes battle for conference titles in basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball. The CAA will also begin sponsorship of a 12-team Division I-AA football league in the fall of 2007.
In men’s basketball, the CAA has earned a reputation as a “giant killer” in the NCAA Tournament. Since 1981, CAA schools have posted 12 wins over higher-seeded teams. In 2004-05, the conference had four teams earn post-season berths for the first time in league history and five teams were ranked among the top 100 in the RPI. In women’s basketball, the CAA has had two teams earn post-season berths for five consecutive years. Perennial power Old Dominion, which has won the past 14 conference titles, has captured three national championships (1979, 1980, 1985) and reached the title game again in 1997.
The conference has also excelled in many other sports. CAA squads have won 10 field hockey national titles since the championship began in 1981, which is not only more than any other conference but represents nearly half of all titles won. In baseball, at least two CAA teams have earned NCAA Tournament berths for seven of the past eight seasons. The CAA is annually ranked among the nation’s top 10 conferences in men’s and women’s soccer, and has traditionally sent multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament. In 2004-05, 24 league teams earned NCAA Tournament berths in 15 sports, with the CAA having multiple representatives in men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, men’s and women’s golf, men’s lacrosse and men’s tennis. There were 29 CAA student-athletes who earned All-America honors.
CAA member institutions are also committed to excellence in the classroom. The Colonial Academic Alliance was created in 2002 by the league’s presidents with a goal of expanding their partnership to all aspects of university life outside of intercollegiate athletics. Among the programs already established are an undergraduate research conference, coordination of study abroad programs and granting visiting academic status to student-athletes traveling to an away contest so that they have access to libraries, academic resource centers and computer labs.
In 2002, two faculty members from CAA institutions were awarded academia’s most coveted distinction – the Nobel Prize. John B. Fenn, a research professor in the Department of Chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University, received the Nobel Prize for chemistry, and Vernon Smith, a professor of economics and law at George Mason University, shared the Nobel Prize in economic sciences.
Commissioner Thomas E. Yeager has guided the CAA since its inception. Core members George Mason University, James Madison University, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of William & Mary were joined by the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Hofstra University and Towson University in 2001. Georgia State University and Northeastern University became members of the conference on July 1, 2005.
The CAA traces its roots back to 1983 when three of its current members- George Mason, James Madison, and William and Mary - were aligned with East Carolina University, the United States Naval Academy and the University of Richmond as a basketball league (ECAC South). During the next two years, the league added 11 sports, acquired two new members (UNC Wilmington and American University) and decided to form a new association. The transformation from ECAC South to CAA took place on June 6, 1985. By the fall of 1986, the league gained automatic bids to NCAA Championships in men’s basketball, soccer, baseball and women’s basketball and formed an officials’ bureau. Old Dominion became a member of the CAA in 1991-92 and Virginia Commonwealth University joined the conference prior to the 1995-96 season.
From all-star athletes to Nobel Prize winning faculty, the CAA takes great pride in producing performers who stand out both on the playing field and in the classroom.