2013-2014 MAAC Story
With 11 institutions strongly bound by the sound principles of quality and integrity in academics and excellence in athletics, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is in its 33rd year of competition during the 2013-2014 academic year.
The MAAC was founded in 1980 by six charter members: the U.S. Military Academy, Fairfield University, Fordham University, Iona College, Manhattan College and Saint Peter's College. Competition followed one year later in the fall of 1981 with members competing in the sports of men's cross country and men's soccer. On January 2, 1982, Army traveled to Iona for the first MAAC men's basketball game and the MAAC story had begun.
Current Conference members include: Canisius College, Fairfield University, Iona College, Manhattan College, Marist College, Monmouth University, Niagara University, Quinnipiac University, Rider University, Saint Peter's University, and Siena College. In addition, associate members include the University of Detroit Mercy in men's lacrosse; St. Francis (N.Y.) College, Villanova University, Virginia Military Institute and Wagner College are all associate members of the MAAC Women's Water Polo League. Drake University, Jacksonville University, Robert Morris University, Sacred Heart University, and Stetson University compete in women's rowing, while the University at Albany and the University of Hartford take part in women’s golf competition. With the addition of field hockey to the sports lineup in the fall of 2013, the MAAC will support 25 sports and championships during the 2013-2014 academic year; in addition, the MAAC champion earns automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship in 16 sports.
The MAAC Basketball Championships return to Springfield's MassMutual Center in 2014 for the final year of a three-year stint; the championships in Springfield are co-hosted by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. By having an excellent working relationship with various facilities, the MAAC has been able to attract a number of NCAA Championship events. Most recently, the MAAC and Fairfield hosted the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Regional at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT. The MAAC and Rider hosted the 2012 NCAA Rowing Championships at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, New Jersey and also co-hosted the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The MAAC, Canisius College and Niagara University successfully hosted the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York, and all three parties partnered for this same event in 2004 and 2007. The MAAC and Rider University co-hosted the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship Regional at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, N.J., after recording the third highest attendance figure for the women's championship with the First and Second Rounds in 2006. The MAAC, Canisius College and Niagara University will work together for the fourth time to co-host the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball second and third rounds at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY.
In June of 1995, the MAAC developed new opportunities for student-athletes as the conference announced the formation of the MAAC Men's and Women's Lacrosse Leagues. The men's league began competition in the spring of 1996, while the women's league commenced in the spring of 1997. Since their inception as associate sports leagues, both men’s and women’s lacrosse have come into the fold as full MAAC sports. The men's league currently consists of six MAAC schools - Canisius, Manhattan, Marist, Monmouth, Quinnipiac and Siena - and one associate member – the University of Detroit Mercy. The women's league features competition among nine MAAC institutions - Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Monmouth, Niagara, Quinnipiac and Siena.
MAAC Associate Sports
In 2002, the MAAC added the MAAC Women’s Water Polo League. The league is currently made up of three MAAC schools - Iona, Marist and Siena - as well as four associate members, St. Francis (N.Y.), Villanova, Virginia Military Institute and Wagner.
Sacred Heart began participation in MAAC Women’s Rowing in the spring of 2008. Drake University joined the league for the 2010 MAAC Championship, while Robert Morris began competition in the spring of 2011. In 2012 Jacksonville University brought its men’s and women’s teams into MAAC Rowing, and Stetson University joins the league in 2014.
MAAC women’s golf competition is comprised of five member schools – Fairfield, Monmouth, Niagara, Quinnipiac and Siena – and two associate members – the University at Albany and the University of Hartford.
For the first time in league history, an associate member was added in men’s swimming & diving when Bryant University joined the league in the summer of 2012.
In April of 2013 the MAAC added field hockey as a sponsored sport with competition beginning in the fall of the 2013-14 academic year between four member institutions – Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University, Rider University and Siena College. In June of 2013 the MAAC added three associate members to the Field Hockey league - Bryant University, Robert Morris University, and Sacred Heart University, bringing the MAAC to seven teams, while Fairfield University will join the league starting in the 2015-16 academic year.
Academics and Athletics
The MAAC prides itself on the accomplishments of its student-athletes in the classroom, as well as on the field. Mary Beth Riley, a 1991 graduate of Canisius, was the first recipient of the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. In the fall of 1998, Erin Whalen, a member of the Iona women’s rowing team, was awarded one of the nation’s 32 Rhodes Scholarships for academic achievement and civic leadership. Jose Vargas, a Loyola student, was also awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1999.
First-class facilities are the rule with MAAC schools, as teams regularly play in top-notch arenas, such as Madison Square Garden, the Barclays Center, the MassMutual Center, the IZOD Center, First Niagara Center, Times Union Center, the Webster Bank Arena, and the Sun National Bank Center. This year, the MAAC will take the women’s soccer championship to Orlando, Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The 2014 MAAC Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships will be held at Disney’s Palm Golf Course.
In the past several years, a number of the MAAC schools have also enjoyed success in NCAA Championships. MAAC schools have played in a total of 80 NIT games and 79 NCAA games. In 2013, the MAAC had a record 6 men basketball programs participate in postseason play- Iona (NCAA Championship), Niagara (NIT), Canisius, Fairfield, Loyola, and Rider (CIT). Canisius and Loyola both advanced to the Quarterfinal round, while Rider reached the second round. In 2012, the MAAC had two teams advance to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship for the first time in 16 years, with Loyola earning the league’s automatic bid and Iona garnering an at-large bid. In 2007, the Marist women’s basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to the eventual National Champion, the University of Tennessee. The Red Foxes have recorded five NCAA wins since their runs in 2007.
The MAAC has also been a leader in the forefront of technology, expanding the notoriety of the league into cyberspace. In 2007, the league reached an agreement with JumpTV, Inc., now NeuLion, Inc., to design and host the MAAC web page. MAACSports.com has been a great success, providing fans with up-to-date contest results, live and on-demand video and an online merchandise store. The MAAC, in conjunction with NeuLion, launched an iPhone app in February 2011, followed by Android and iPad apps that were released during the 2011-12 academic year.
In September 2011, the conference announced the launch of MAAC.TV, the league’s first broadband network. Eight schools - Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Monmouth, Rider, and Saint Peter’s - are currently part of the network, which broadcast over 400 live events in 2012-13.
The MAAC President for the 2013-2014 academic year is Dr. Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., the President of Saint Peter’s University. The Vice-President is John J. Hurley, the President of Canisius College. John D’Argenio, Director of Athletics at Siena College, will chair the Committee on Athletic Administration, and Alison Sexton, Senior Woman Administrator at Fairfield University will serve as Vice Chair.