Rhode Island football to join NEC
Somerset, NJ (Sports Network) - The University of Rhode Island has accepted an invitation to join the Northeast Conference in 2013 as an associate member in football, conference commissioner Noreen Morris announced Monday.
Rhode Island will remain in CAA Football as an associate member for the 2011 and '12 seasons. Its other athletic teams participate in the Atlantic 10.
"We are thrilled to welcome the University of Rhode Island to the Northeast Conference football family," Morris said in a statement. "The conference is united in its commitment to the long term growth of the sport. As such, the NEC has made great strides in recent years, leading to our participation this month in the NCAA FCS playoffs. The addition of URI further strengthens the league and begins an exciting new chapter in the NEC's development."
"We are looking forward to the new opportunity afforded the University of Rhode Island football program," said Thorr Bjorn, Rhode Island's director of athletics. "We would like to thank NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris, as well as all of the NEC presidents and athletic directors, for their invitation. We are grateful to the CAA member institutions, the CAA Presidents, Athletic Directors and Commissioner Tom Yeager, and the CAA staff for their support and understanding of this move for URI."
The addition of Rhode Island would give the NEC 10 football members in 2013. Bryant, Central Connecticut State, Monmouth, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis (Pa.) and Wagner are full-time NEC members which sponsor football, and are joined by associate members Albany and Duquesne.
CAA football lost Hofstra and Northeastern when they discontinued football after the 2009 season. Old Dominion will join the conference next year followed by Georgia State in 2012. In addition to URI, current CAA members are Delaware, James Madison, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Richmond, Towson, Villanova and William & Mary
11/22 15:40:12 ET