ARLINGTON, Va. – After spending nearly 29 years and being a founding member of the Capital Athletic Conference, Marymount University is joining with six other institutions in the region to form a new league, the Atlantic East Conference, which has received approval from the NCAA to begin competition on September 1, 2018.
The seven founding institutions of the Atlantic East include Cabrini University, Gwynedd Mercy University, Immaculata University, Marymount University, Marywood University, Neumann University, and Wesley College.
Jamie Reynolds, Director of Athletics at Marymount and Chair-Elect of the Athletic Director's Council, stated, "Our home has been in the Capital Athletic Conference for almost 29 years. Since its formation long ago, it has a much different landscape and make up. We are thrilled to align with institutions of similar size and mission. The Atlantic East offers an elite level of competition and academic excellence that pairs perfectly with the mission of our university and athletic department."
The Atlantic East is being formed to foster athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, private colleges located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The geographic focus will bring together some of the top colleges in the region, while still allowing for a strong conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the student-athlete's university experience.
The Atlantic East was a culmination of efforts by the presidents and athletic directors of the seven institutions and was an extremely collaborative effort. Dr. Matthew D. Shank, president of Marymount University and chair of the Atlantic East President's Council, said, "We are all excited to bring universities together that share similar missions, values and beliefs along with the common understanding that athletics play an important role at our institutions."
The combination of the AEC geographic region and the institutional focus of the schools offers each institution the opportunity to enhance its student-athlete experience.
"Our student-athletes commit countless hours on the playing fields, in the classroom, and in the community," Reynolds stated. "We feel strongly that in the Atlantic East we have found a home that matches that commitment and will enhance the student-athlete experience."
The Saints have 17 sports with 260 student-athletes. Heading to the new conference are the following sports: men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, women's volleyball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's lacrosse, men's golf, and baseball. Men's volleyball will remain in the Continental Volleyball Conference, while women's golf will finish out their associate membership in the Centennial Conference. Men's and women's triathlon will continue as an independent sport.
The Atlantic East will initially sponsor and host championships for 19 sports within the NCAA Division III. The search for the founding commissioner will begin on March 1, 2018.