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Quinnipiac, Monmouth to join MAAC in 2013

Connecticut Post
Updated 12:32 am, Saturday, December 15, 2012
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Quinnipiac and Monmouth have accepted invitations to join the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, effective July 1, 2013, the schools and the league announced Friday.

The invitations were extended after a vote by the MAAC presidents on Friday morning.

The additions of the schools will bring the league membership to 11. Loyola, Md., is leaving the MAAC at the end of the 2012-13 season for the Patriot League.

The possibility of the MAAC expanding was first reported by Hearst Connecticut Newspapers. Quinnipiac, Monmouth and Wagner -- all members of the Northeast Conference -- were considered the top choices.

"We are delighted to be joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference that will continue to advance us both athletically and academically," Quinnipiac University President John L. Lahey said in a statement. "We also want to thank the Northeast Conference which has provided collegiality and support to Quinnipiac's athletic teams since our becoming a Division I program."

The MAAC was founded in 1980; Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan and Saint Peter's remain from the original six members. The U.S. Military Academy and Fordham have since left. In addition to the four charter members, Niagara, Canisius, Rider, Siena and Marist are also members of the MAAC.

Quinnipiac, a private school in Hamden with an undergraduate enrollment of 6,262, will be a natural geographic rival for Fairfield while losing its in-state rivalries with NEC members Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut. It has one of the finest multi-purpose athletic facilities in the New England region with the $52 million TD Bank Sports Center.

Quinnipiac previously played in the MAAC Hockey league from 1998 until the 2005-06 season when it joined ECAC Hockey, which it will remain a member of for men's and women's ice hockey.

Monmouth, in West Long Branch, N.J., is a private school with an undergraduate enrollment of 4,700. It opened the $57 million Multipurpose Activity Center in 2009 to help increase exposure of the school and its athletic programs.

"Monmouth is flattered by the invitation to join the MAAC. I thank the Council of Presidents for having confidence in us," Monmouth President Paul G. Gaffney said in a statement. "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."

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