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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Sacred Heart, Merrimack to join MAAC in 2024-25

Merrimack Colleges Church/Wikimedia Commons
Both Sacred Heart and Merrimack are set to join the MAAC beginning with the ’24-25 academic year.

Both Sacred Heart and Merrimack will join the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conferencestarting in the 2024-25 academic year, the conference announced Oct. 23.

“Merrimack and Sacred Heart are two institutions that share our emphasis on the overall well-being of our student-athletes,” wrote MAAC President and Quinnipiac President Judy Olian in a press release.“We’re a conference that has always prided itself on the academic focus of our student athletes, their character, alongside their athletic distinctions. All of us in the MAAC are enthusiastic to expand the conference with these two schools as they share our values and commitment to the academic, athletic and personal growth of our students.”

Both schools are current members of the Northeast Conference, but will become full-member institutions in the MAAC in 2024-25 and push the conference membership to an all-time high of 13.

“This is a significant and exciting day for the MAAC as we welcome two outstanding institutions to our conference,” wrote MAAC Commissioner Travis Tellitocci in the release. “The addition of both schools extends our presence in major metropolitan areas, elevates our brand and enriches our conference. We are proud to welcome the Merrimack and Sacred Heart student-athletes, coaches, administrators, alumni and fans to the MAAC.”

Merrimack is a relatively new member of Division I athletics, making the move from Division II in 2019. The 2023-24 academic year marks its first year of full Division I eligibility following a four-year reclassification process. The Warriors have had success since making the jump, most notably the men’s basketball team, which won the NEC regular season and tournament championships in 2022-23. Merrimack will also be the first school from Massachusetts to join the MAAC.

“The entire Merrimack community is thrilled for the invitation to join the MAAC,” Jeremy Gibson, Merrimack’s Director of Athletics wrote. “Our ascension in Division I has been rapid and we are eager to build our momentum as a member of the MAAC.”

Sacred Heart, a Division I university since joining the NEC in 1999, has also seen success, collecting 73 team championships and nine Brenda Weare Commissioner’s Cup (given to the most successful NEC school across all sports in a given year).

“Joining the MAAC is an excellent opportunity for the Sacred Heart University Athletics Program,” wrote Judy Ann Riccio, Sacred Heart Executive Director of Athletics. “We look forward to our teams competing for championships for years to come.”

Both Merrimack and Sacred Heart boast at least 28 Division I teams, including football. The MAAC does not sponsor football, so both programs will have to find another conference or remain in the NEC as affiliates. Much like Quinnipiac, both universities’ hockey teams also reside in other conferences: Merrimack in Hockey East and Sacred Heart in Atlantic Hockey.

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