The MAAC issued a press release Friday morning that will be adding field hockey as an associate sport sponsored by the conference, with league play beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.
Four schools – newcomers Monmouth and Quinnipiac along with Rider and Siena College – will begin play this fall. Meanwhile, Fairfield will join the league starting in the 2015-16 academic year.
The MAAC will also look to invite schools that sponsor field hockey within the region to join as associate members for the 2013 season.
“The MAAC is excited about sponsoring field hockey as an associate league sport as membership expansion provides added branding opportunities for the conference,” notes Richard J. Ensor, Commissioner of the MAAC, in the press release. “As the MAAC athletic administrators reviewed the needs of the member institutions, it became apparent that having a core of five schools sponsoring the sport made the addition of field hockey to the MAAC Strategic Plan an obvious next step for the conference to meet the expectations of the student-athletes for a consistent championship experience.”
The membership plan is to provide eight teams for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and nine teams when Fairfield commences league play in the 2015-16 academic year.
The MAAC has added various sports throughout the years in an effort to develop opportunities for student-athletes. In June of 1995, the conference announced the formation of the MAAC Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse leagues, with the men beginning competition in the spring of 1996 while the women commenced in the spring of 1997. The MAAC added women’s water polo in 2002, with competition currently between three MAAC schools – Iona College, Marist College and Siena – as well as four associate members: Saint Francis (N.Y.) College, Villanova University, the Virginia Military Institute and Wagner College. The MAAC also has associate members in women’s rowing (Drake University, Jacksonville University, Robert Morris University and Sacred Heart University), women’s golf (University at Albany, Boston University, Butler University and the University of Hartford) and men’s swimming & diving (Bryant University).