Northeast Conference Adds Hobart College As Associate Member In Men's Lacrosse

Northeast Conference Adds Hobart College As Associate Member In Men's Lacrosse

Somerset, NJ -- Hobart College has accepted an invitation from the Northeast Conference to join as an associate member in the sport of men's lacrosse, it was announced on Monday by NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. The Statesmen will begin NEC play in the spring of 2014, joining current men's lacrosse-playing members Bryant University, Mount St. Mary's University, Robert Morris University, Sacred Heart University and Wagner College.
 
"We are thrilled that Hobart lacrosse is joining the NEC family; not only do they bring a long history of success on the lacrosse field, but they have consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to the core values of educating and developing student-athletes," said Morris.  "The NEC coaches and administrators are dedicated to building a premier men's lacrosse league, and we are taking another big step in the right direction with the addition of the Statesmen."
 
Hobart, which had been a member of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) since 2005, brings one of the nation's most storied lacrosse programs to the NEC.  The Statesmen have won 16 national championships, including 12 straight at the Division III level from 1980 to 1991. Having competed in all three NCAA divisions, Hobart made the move to Division I in 1995 and has appeared in the NCAA Tournament four times, most recently in 2004.  Overall, the Statesmen have amassed a 732-464-20 record since the program's inception in 1898.
 
"After careful consideration of the generous offers available to the program, the Northeast Conference is the best fit for our student-athletes," said Hobart and William Smith Colleges Vice President for Student Affairs Robert Flowers.  "We have been impressed with the league's commitment to academic and athletic excellence as well as its principles of sportsmanship and student-athlete community involvement.  These priorities mirror the mission of Hobart and William Smith Colleges."

Hobart sports a 3-3 all-time record against NEC programs, splitting four games with Robert Morris and two with Bryant.  When the Statesmen square off with Mount St. Mary's next spring, they will be going up against Hobart Hall of Famer Tom Gravante '88, the Mount's longtime head coach.

In addition to five regular season NEC games in 2014, Hobart will also maintain its long-standing rivalries with non-conference foes Colgate, Cornell, and Syracuse.  The Statesmen finished with a 6-8 mark in 2013, which included top-20 wins over then No. 3 Syracuse, then No. 15 Colgate and then No. 20 Bellarmine.

"The opportunity to join the Northeast Conference is exciting for Hobart lacrosse," said Hobart Director of Athletics Mike Hanna.  "From New England to the Mid-Atlantic, the NEC schedule will take us to areas in which the Colleges recruit heavily and where large numbers of our graduates and fans are located.  A new chapter is about to open for this storied program and the NEC's invitation is a big part of the excitement around Hobart lacrosse."

The NEC announced the addition of men's lacrosse in the spring of 2008.  Official sponsorship began in 2011 with Mount St. Mary's crowned the league's inaugural champion.  Since that time, the Conference has enjoyed success in the sport both on and off the field.  Several of its members have appeared in the national rankings since 2011, including two-time defending NEC champion Bryant, which ended the 2013 season ranked No. 20 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Division I Media Poll.  This past May, the Bulldogs became the first NEC program to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.  In the classroom, NEC lacrosse teams combined to place 75 student-athletes on the NEC Academic Honor Roll and 17 on the prestigious NEC Commissioner's Honor Roll with GPAs of 3.75 or higher during the 2012-13 academic year.

About The Northeast Conference
Now entering its 33rd year, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 institutions of higher learning located throughout six states. Media coverage of the NEC extends to four of the largest markets in the United States - New York (#1), Pittsburgh (#23), Baltimore (#27), and Hartford/New Haven (#30).  Founded in 1981 as the basketball-only ECAC Metro Conference, the NEC has grown to sponsor 22 championship sports for men and women and now enjoys automatic or play-in access to 14 different NCAA Championships. NEC member institutions include Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU Brooklyn, Mount St. Mary's, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis Brooklyn, Saint Francis U and Wagner. For more information on the NEC, visit the league's official website (www.northeastconference.org) and digital network (www.necfrontrow.com), or follow the league on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube @NECsports.