Northeast Conference Logo
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Northeast Conference color scheme from the logo. You can copy each of Northeast Conference logo colors by clicking on a button with the color HEX code above.
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The Northeast Conference (NEC) is a collegiate athletic conference whose schools are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Teams in the NEC compete in Division I for all sports; football competes in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA. Participating schools are located principally in the Northeastern United States, from which the conference derives its name.
The conference was named the ECAC Metro Conference when it was established in 1981. The original eleven member schools were Fairleigh Dickinson University, the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University (whose athletic program has now merged with that of LIU’s Post campus into a single athletic program), Loyola College in Maryland (left in 1989), Marist College (left in 1997), Robert Morris University (left in 2020), St. Francis College (NY), Saint Francis College (PA), Siena College (left in 1984), Towson State University (left in 1982), the University of Baltimore (left in 1983) and Wagner College.
The conference’s name was changed to its present form on August 1, 1988. Other names considered were Big North, Great North, North Shore, Northern, Northeastern, Eastern and Eastern Private Intercollegiate.
The Northeast Conference has expanded eight times since 1981. The expansions and additions from the original charter members were in 1985 (Monmouth University, which left in 2013), 1989 (Mount St. Mary’s University), 1992 (Rider University, which left in 1997), 1997 (Central Connecticut State University), 1998 (Quinnipiac University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County which respectively left in 2013 and 2003), 1999 (Sacred Heart University), 2008 (Bryant University), and 2019 (Merrimack College). The Northeast Conference’s rank was largest at 12 in 2008 with the addition of Bryant University; it dropped to 10 in 2013 with the departure of Monmouth and Quinnipiac for the MAAC, returned to 11 with the 2019 addition of Merrimack, and again dropped to 10 in 2020 with the departure of Robert Morris for the Horizon League.
Additional changes were announced in 2018 and took effect with the 2019–20 school year. First, on September 10, the NEC announced it would add Merrimack. Then, on October 3, Long Island University announced that it would combine its two existing athletic programs—NEC member LIU Brooklyn and the Division II program at LIU Post—into a single Division I program under the LIU name. The new LIU program, nicknamed Sharks, maintains LIU Brooklyn’s previous memberships in Division I and the NEC. The most recent change took place on July 1, 2020, when charter member Robert Morris left to join the Horizon League.
The Northeast Conference has a total of 10 full members in 24 championship sports: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s bowling, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s field hockey, football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball.
Men’s lacrosse became the league’s 23rd sport for the 2011 season. The number of sports dropped to 22 after the 2012–13 school year, when the conference dropped field hockey. The departure of Monmouth and Quinnipiac to become all-sports members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in July 2013 gave the MAAC four full members that sponsored the sport; the other two were NEC single-sport affiliates Rider and Siena. The MAAC then decided to add field hockey as a sponsored sport for the 2013 season, and all of the NEC’s remaining field hockey programs eventually joined the MAAC except for Saint Francis (PA), which joined the Atlantic 10 Conference. The NEC reinstated field hockey as a sponsored sport for the 2019 season with seven members—full members Bryant, LIU, Merrimack, Sacred Heart, and Wagner, plus associate members Fairfield and Rider. The most recent addition to the NEC’s sports roster is men’s swimming & diving, added for 2020–21 with full members Bryant, LIU, Mount St. Mary’s, and St. Francis Brooklyn plus incoming associate member Howard.
Currently, a total of seven affiliate members compete in football, men’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s swimming, and women’s bowling. One of these, namely Howard, will add men’s and women’s soccer, women’s lacrosse, and women’s golf to its NEC membership in 2021–22.