October 18, 2007



Northeast Conference  

SMITHFIELD, R.I. - Bryant University announced that it has received and accepted an invitation to join the Northeast Conference (NEC), an 11-member Division I conference that sponsors championships in 21 sports for men and women.   The announcement was made today by Northeast Conference Commissioner Brenda Weare following a vote from the NEC Council of Presidents.

"Bryant is an outstanding university that has demonstrated excellence both academically and competitively," said NEC commissioner Brenda Weare. "They are an excellent fit for the NEC, and we look forward to them joining us in the fall of 2012."

"I think this is great for the Northeast Conference," said Vice Admiral Paul Gaffney, President of Monmouth University and Chair of the NEC Membership Committee. "We were extremely impressed with the commitment of their President, trustees, and athletic department staff."

Having already filed with the NCAA, Bryant is currently in its first year of a five-year transition period for full Division I membership. 

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors earlier this summer had issued a moratorium for four years on schools applying to transition to Division I.  Bryant had filed its paperwork before June 1 with the NCAA. 

With the invitation into the Northeast Conference, Bryant will become the fourth Division I institution in the state of Rhode Island, joining Brown University, Providence College and the University of Rhode Island. 

Bryant will continue its transition to Division I with full membership effective September 2012. Bryant is expected to begin playing a Division I schedule in 2008-09.

"The movement to Division I athletic competition is consistent with our strategic plan to continually enhance Bryant University's reputation as a superb educational institution," said Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley.

"Membership in the prestigious Northeast Conference will raise our academic and athletic profiles, providing our student-athletes the opportunity to compete at the highest level," added Director of Athletics Bill Smith.


1. 2007-08    Exploratory Year - Remain Eligible for DII Championships

2. 2008-09    First Year of Reclassification

3. 2009-10    Second Year of Reclassification

4. 2010-11    Third Year of Reclassification

5. 2011-12    Fourth Year of Reclassification

6. 2012-13    Eligible for NCAA Division I Championships

Located in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant University has 3,268 full-time and part-time undergraduate students from 32 states and 34 countries, and offers degrees through its the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Business. Bryant is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), a distinction awarded to fewer than 10 percent of business schools worldwide. 

Recently, Bryant University was listed among the Top 20 Universities - Master's North Category by U.S. News & World Report and is listed in Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Princeton Review's "Top 366 Colleges in America."

Bryant University sponsors 22 intercollegiate sports teams: 11 men's varsity programs (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, tennis, soccer, swimming, indoor track, and outdoor track and field) and 11 women's varsity programs: (basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor track, outdoor track and field, and volleyball).

The Northeast Conference currently consists of 11 institutions:  Central Connecticut State University (New Britain, Conn.), Fairleigh Dickinson University (Hackensack, N.J.), Long Island University (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Monmouth University (West Long Branch, N.J.), Mount St. Mary's University (Emmitsburg, M.D.), Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Conn.), Robert Morris University (Moon Township, Pa.), Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, Conn.), Saint Francis College (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Saint Francis University (Loretto, Pa.), and Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.).  

The University of Albany (Albany, N.Y.) and Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, Pa.) are associate members of the Northeast Conference in football only.