Michael Romanella ’13, Sports Editor
UMass-Lowell is the latest to make the leap out of the Northeast-10 Conference into Division I. Starting next fall, the River Hawks will compete in Division I as a member of America East.
Last fall UMass-Lowell developed a strategic athletic plan that suggested the move to Division I for all sports excluding hockey, as the River Hawks are already a member of Division I’s Hockey East.
“UMass-Lowell is proud to have been chosen to join the America East Conference, not just on the basis of the strengths of our outstanding athletics programs and facilities, but also because of the university’s excellence in academics, research and vibrant campus life,” said UMass-Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan, a former congressman from the Merrimack Valley.
This dream move became more of a reality after Boston University decided to leave America East for the Patriot League, which will officially happen on July 1. This opened the door for Lowell, as they had an interested conference seeking a replacement — not to mention that the league is headquartered in Cambridge.
UMass-Lowell will become the second school in the University of Massachusetts system to compete in Division 1, joining UMass-Amherst. UMass-Lowell has 17 athletic teams, and will add men’s and women’s lacrosse starting next spring. The Red Hawks move will take effect July 1.
President Christopher Hopey, as part of his strategic plan, The Agenda for Distinction, has envisioned Merrimack’s move to Division I in all sports. Currently the only Division I program at Merrimack is men’s hockey