UAlbany & the America East Conference
UAlbany accepted an invitation to join America East Conference in 2001-02 on January 31. Joining President Karen Hitchcock at the announcement were State University of New York Chancellor Robert L. King, America East Commissioner Chris Monasch, Director of Athletics Lee McElroy and University Vice President James Doellefeld.
UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY ACCEPTS INVITATION TO JOIN AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE IN 2001-02
The University at Albany has accepted an invitation to become a full member of America East Conference, effective with the 2001-02 academic year, as President Dr. Karen R. Hitchcock announced on Jan. 31. Seventeen of the school’s nineteen intercollegiate varsity teams will be immediately eligible for conference championships and NCAA post-season competition.
"We are most pleased the University’s search for conference affiliation has reached a successful conclusion," President Hitchcock said. "The America East Conference membership and the University at Albany have similar missions. These institutions have high academic standards, operate their athletic departments with integrity and demonstrated quality, and value the student-athlete as a whole person. We look forward to a long and productive partnership."
America East is in its 13th year of all-sports championship competition with a reputation as a comprehensive conference that is committed to broad-based Division I athletics. America East sponsors 21 conference championships for men and women. Admission to NCAA championships can be earned in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, and volleyball. In addition, student-athletes compete as individuals for NCAA events in cross country, swimming and diving, and track and field.
The America East membership will consist of nine institutions -- University at Albany, Binghamton University, Boston University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, Stony Brook University, and University of Vermont --- for 2001-02. In addition, America East has extended affiliate membership to the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Hofstra University and Towson University in men's and women's soccer and field hockey in the fall of 2001. Drexel and Towson will be affiliate members in volleyball next fall.
"Conference affiliation for our entire athletics program will enhance the institution’s Division I growth," said Director of Athletics and Recreation Dr. Lee McElroy, who has spearheaded the University’s conference search process since his appointment in July 2000. "With America East Conference membership, the University’s goals and aspirations for intercollegiate athletics are now clearly defined. Our student-athletes and coaches will have an opportunity to compete for both conference and NCAA championships. America East will also provide increased visibility for athletics and strengthen our identity with the University’s students, alumni, faculty and friends.
UAlbany sponsors eight men’s teams, including baseball, basketball, cross country, indoor track, lacrosse, outdoor track, soccer, and football (Division I-AA). The eleven women’s teams are basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, indoor track, lacrosse, outdoor track, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. Football will continue its association with the Northeast Conference, and is committed through 2002. Women’s golf will compete as an independent.
The University has an athletic history that dates back to the late 1890s when the first known intercollegiate teams arrived on campus. Albany competed at the college division level prior to the NCAA’s restructuring in 1972. The athletic program moved from Division III to Division II in 1995-96, and upgraded to Division I in September 1999.
The University at Albany was founded in 1844 as the state’s first school for the training of teachers and the oldest chartered public institution of higher education in New York, and has evolved into one of the top research universities in the nation. Nearly 17,000 students are enrolled in eight degree-granting schools and colleges offering 220 academic programs from the bachelor’s degree through the doctorate.
(REACTION TO AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE MEMBERSHIP)
Administrators, student-athletes and coaches reacted to the University at Albany's acceptance into America East Conference, effective in the 2001-02 academic year, following a press conference held on Wed., Jan. 31 in the Recreation and Convocation Center's Athletic Hall of Fame Room.
Robert L. King, State University of New York Chancellor -- "It is important to get our schools (Albany & Stony Brook) into conferences that are recognized and respected across the country. We are delighted by this affiliation because it starts to give some real credibility to our Division I programs. It will assist in our recruiting and give us the visibility we want to have. I think it is a win-win situation."
UAlbany President Karen Hitchcock -- "We have been intensely involved in this process over the last seven months. A lot of things had to fall into place to make it happen. When the four teams (Delaware, Drexel, Towson, Hofstra) announced they were leaving for the Colonial Athletic Association, we knew our chances to get into the conference would improve. We immediately established a relationship with America East. We did a lot of work before the dominos began to fall."
America East Commissioner Chris Monasch -- "Certainly (Albany) is very similar to the other institutions that we have currently, in size and philosophy, academics, the reputation of the institution, what their athletic program is about. So it makes sense for all those reasons, and I just think we project them to be an outstanding Division I program."
Women's basketball coach Mari Warner -- "Our players will now have a chance to compete for a conference championship. Everyone wants to have a shot to win something. When you play in these conference games, anybody can beat anybody on any given day. We have everything to gain from this move."
Men's basketball tri-captain Will Brand -- "Now I have something to really play for in my senior year. It's something (conference affiliation) that I didn't want to go without. We haven't played in a conference since my freshman year, so it feels good to play in America East."
Charlie Voelker, WOFX Radio and UAlbany alumnus -- "I think the athletic program can go into that conference and compete. Everyone has a lot to look forward to. Someday we're all going to be turning on the television and watching the Great Danes play in the NCAA Tournament and that's going to be great." move."
Vice President for Student Affairs James P. Doellefeld -- "America East Conference affiliation will enrich the experience of every student-athlete and elevate the visibility of the institution."