BABSON PARK, Mass. – For the first time since 2004, men's lacrosse will return to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), as the conference will begin sponsoring the sport for the 2014 season. Conference members, Babson College, Clark University, Emerson College, MIT, Springfield College and Wheaton College will be joined by the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, who enters the NEWMAC as an associate member in 2014. Men's lacrosse becomes the 19th conference championship and the league's eighth men's offering.
Babson, Clark, MIT, Massachusetts Maritime, Springfield and Wheaton have been participating in the Pilgrim League men's lacrosse conference since the 2005 season. As part of its transition to full membership this summer, Emerson will become the seventh NEWMAC men's lacrosse team, giving the league automatic qualifier status for the 2014 NCAA Division III championship. Beginning in 2015, Coast Guard Academy will also field a men's lacrosse squad and become the conference's eighth member.
The league had originally sponsored men's lacrosse from 1999 through 2004, although the five NEWMAC schools also participated in the Pilgrim League during that time, in order to be eligible for NCAA championship selection. Following the 2004 season, the NEWMAC discontinued its sponsorship of the sport and league members continued their participation in the Pilgrim League, under the leadership of Commissioner Craig Poisson, Senior Associate Athletic Director at Springfield.
NEWMAC Executive Director, Patrick Summers, commented on the occasion, saying, "The NEWMAC is proud and excited to bring back the sport of men's lacrosse. I would like to recognize Commissioner Poisson and Assistant Commissioner Brian Magoffin of the Pilgrim League for their leadership and service over the past 13 years."
"The conference is going through and will go through some significant and positive changes in the coming years," Summers continued, "but we make these changes while staying true to our commitment to both academic and athletic excellence for all student-athletes."
"In large part, due to the tenuous nature of single sport conferences, we have always felt being under the umbrella of a multi-sport conference would provide greater stability for our student-athletes," said Poisson. "The NEWMAC has established itself as a premier conference for both academics and athletics, and will be a great fit for our members."
Massachusetts Maritime becomes the NEWMAC's second associate member, joining Simmons College, who participates as an associate member for women's rowing.
Director of Athletics Bob Corradi was enthusiastic about the transition, remarking, "Massachusetts Maritime is ecstatic to be an associate member of the NEWMAC in the sport of men's lacrosse. The tradition of playing Babson, Clark, MIT, Springfield and Wheaton as members of the Pilgrim League is something that our student-athletes have taken great pride in, and we look forward to that continuing in the future with Emerson and Coast Guard as well."
"I want to express my thanks on behalf of the Academy to Executive Director Summers, the NEWMAC Presidents and Athletics Directors and to Craig Poisson for their leadership and initiative in this transition," Corradi continued. "All Buccaneers are extremely excited about this new opportunity going forward."
Springfield captured the NEWMAC championship in 1999 and 2000. The Pride have also won the past six Pilgrim League titles and have made 12 appearances in the NCAA tournament since 2000.
The transition from the Pilgrim League to the NEWMAC will officially occur on July 1.
Release Courtesy of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference