EASTON, Mass. (April 5, 2022) – Stonehill College has accepted an invitation from the Northeast Conference’s (NEC) Council of Presidents and will begin a transition to offer NCAA Division I athletics starting with the 2022-23 academic year, it was announced today by Stonehill College President Fr. John Denning, C.S.C. and Noreen Morris, Commissioner of the NEC.

“I am deeply appreciative to the Northeast Conference for inviting us,” said Fr. Denning. “As the College approaches its 75th anniversary, this move to the Northeast Conference and NCAA Division I athletics signals that Stonehill is prepared to achieve its fullest potential—both athletically and academically in the years to come. I also want to express my profound gratitude to the Northeast-10 Conference which has been Stonehill's athletic home for decades.”

Stonehill will begin competition in the NEC in the fall of 2022 and become a full member of the conference in 2026-27 upon completion of its four-year NCAA Division I reclassification period. The Skyhawks will be incorporated into NEC athletic schedules beginning with the 2022-23 seasons and will be able to participate in NEC championships in NCAA non-automatic qualifier sports (men’s and women’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field, as well as women’s swimming). 

“On behalf of the NEC membership, I am thrilled to welcome President Fr. John Denning, Athletic Director Dean O’Keefe and the Stonehill College community to the NEC family,” said Morris. “As we progressed through the membership evaluation process, it became abundantly clear that Stonehill will be a tremendous fit for the NEC from an academic, athletic and mission perspective. The Skyhawks have a strong history of success in all three realms, and they are well positioned to elevate to the Division I ranks and strengthen the NEC. We are extremely excited to kick off the NEC and Stonehill College partnership this fall!”

Stonehill, a charter member of the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10), currently offers 22 varsity intercollegiate athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level, with its 23rd program, women’s ice hockey, set to begin competition in the NCAA Division I New England Women’s Collegiate Hockey Alliance for the 2022-23 season. The College fields nine men’s and 14 women’s athletic programs, with all except equestrian and men’s and women’s ice hockey set to compete among the NEC’s 25 championship sports. Equestrian will continue to compete within the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), while men’s ice hockey will compete as an NCAA Division I independent while the College continues to work towards a conference affiliation.

“Stonehill’s move to Division I and membership in the Northeast Conference is a transformational moment in our history, and we are thrilled our student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics,” said Dean O'Keefe '94, director of athletics at the College. “Our students, alumni, coaches, faculty, staff and the entire Stonehill community have together created a special tradition of athletic and academic excellence, and we are eager to build upon that strong foundation as Stonehill begins a bold new chapter of its exciting story.”

Stonehill has won the NE10 Conference Presidents’ Cup six times, finishing in the top three in the final standings 15 of the last 16 years. Stonehill is one of just ten institutions nationwide to receive the NCAA Division II Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence, recognizing athletic departments with an Academic Success rating of 90-percent or better, each of the first ten years of the program’s existence. The College ranks No. 98 in the category of National Liberal Arts Schools by U.S. News & World Report and No. 94 for the Best Value category. Additionally, Stonehill has seen 30 student-athletes named Academic All-Americans® by College Sports Information Director’s of America (CoSIDA), including 22 within the last ten years, out of 147 CoSIDA Academic All-District® selections.

Stonehill teams have earned 118 NCAA Tournament bids over its history, also regularly sending student-athletes to compete at the NCAA Championships in men’s and women’s track & field. Women’s basketball leads with 26 NCAA Tournament appearances, followed by women’s cross country with 21 appearances at the NCAA Championships, 18 by men’s cross country and 15 each by men’s basketball and women’s tennis. 

Stonehill won 129 NE10 Championships over the Conference’s 41-year history and 189 student-athletes have earned All-America honors. Over the last ten years, 51 teams have qualified for the NCAA Tournament, with men’s basketball capturing two East Region Championships with trips to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, reaching the National Semifinals in 2012, while the women’s basketball program won its third regional title in 2018 to make a third trip to the Elite Eight in program history. Women’s lacrosse has won two national championships in 2003 and 2005, and Corey Thomas, ’13 won the indoor high jump national title at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

A campus celebration was hosted by Stonehill at Merkert Gymnasium. You can view the event in its entirety here via NEC Front Row, the Northeast Conference’s online digital streaming platform.

About Stonehill College

Stonehill College Logo

Stonehill College, a Catholic institution of higher learning, was founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1948. Located on the beautiful 384-acre campus and former estate of Frederick Lothrop Ames in North Easton, Massachusetts, it is a community of scholarship and faith, anchored by a belief in the inherent dignity of each person.

Through more than 100 academic programs in the liberal arts, sciences, business and pre-professional field, Stonehill College provides an education of the highest caliber that fosters critical thinking, free inquiry and the interchange of ideas for over 2,500 students.

Stonehill College educates the whole person so that each Stonehill graduate thinks, acts and leads with courage toward the creation of a more just and compassionate world.

About the Northeast Conference

NEC

Now in its 41st year, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 institutions of higher learning located throughout seven states. Media coverage of the NEC extends to a number of the largest markets in the United States including New York (#1), Boston (#9), Baltimore (#26), and Hartford/New Haven (#33). Founded in 1981 as the basketball-only ECAC Metro Conference, the NEC has grown to sponsor 24 championship sports for men and women and now enjoys automatic access to 16 different NCAA Championships. NEC member institutions in 2022-23 will include Central Connecticut State University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, LIU Brooklyn, Merrimack College, Mount St. Mary’s University, Sacred Heart University, St. Francis College, Saint Francis University, Stonehill College and Wagner College.

Media Contacts

Douglas W. Monson, Jr.

Assistant AD, Communications
Sports Complex 219F
Athletics
Jill Goddard

Jill Goddard

Director of Communications & Media Relations
Comm and Media Relations

Learn More About Our Big Move

Wondering about the details of transitioning to the NEC? Check out our landing page.