SYRACUSE, N.Y. (LE MOYNE COLLEGE) –
Le Moyne College has accepted an invitation to become a member of the Northeast Conference (NEC) starting in fall 2023, a decision that follows a comprehensive study and discernment process involving all key campus constituencies.
In joining with the eight other institutions who are NEC members, Le Moyne’s 21 NCAA teams will move from Division II to Division I, allowing them to showcase its athletics programs in some of the nation’s largest markets while competing at the highest level of collegiate athletics.
To mark this historic moment, there will be a campus-wide celebration led by NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris and Le Moyne President Linda LeMura on Thursday, May 11 at 1 p.m. in Grewen Auditorium on the Le Moyne campus. For those unable to attend, you can stream the event live at this link. You can also watch a video announcing the move here.
“The move to Division I and the Northeast Conference is a milestone event for Le Moyne College,” said President LeMura. “Since the College’s founding in 1946, athletics has been a vital component of our Jesuit ideal of cura personalis – care for the mind, body and soul. By making this move, we are building on a strong foundation of excellence that has been a hallmark of our student-athletes and our programs.”
“On behalf of the Northeast Conference Council of Presidents, we are thrilled to welcome Le Moyne College to the NEC family,” said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. “During our membership evaluation process, it became abundantly clear there was tremendous mission alignment between the NEC and Le Moyne from an academic, athletic and community perspective. I would like to thank President Linda LeMura, Board Chair Pete DiLaura and Athletic Director Bob Beretta for their leadership through this process. Due to their significant planning and preparation, it’s evident the Dolphins are poised to make the jump to Division I. We look forward to kicking off our relationship this fall.”
For the rest of the 2022-23 season, Le Moyne will continue as a member of the Northeast-10 Conference, remaining eligible for NCAA Division II championships. Effective July 1, 2023, Le Moyne will formally begin its reclassification process to become a Division I institution. As of fall 2023, student-athletes will begin competition in the Northeast Conference. Beginning in 2025-26, all Le Moyne athletic programs will be eligible to compete in the NEC postseason, but will remain ineligible for NCAA competition until the 2027-28 academic year. The four-year NCAA Division I reclassification period allows new Division I members sufficient time to strengthen their program support of each team.
“Reclassifying our intercollegiate athletics program to Division I and accepting membership in the Northeast Conference is a transformational moment in the history of Le Moyne College,” said Le Moyne Athletic Director Bob Beretta. “We are thrilled that our student-athletes will receive the opportunity to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics and have a chance to showcase their talents on the greatest stage. Our student-athletes have authored a rich history on ‘the Heights’ filled with academic and athletic excellence. We are looking forward to building on that incredible legacy as we enter an exciting and bold new chapter in our athletics history.”
Accepting the invitation to join the NEC is the culmination of a 15-month-long process at Le Moyne, which included hiring an outside consultant to conduct a feasibility study. In June 2022, an ad hoc committee comprised of members of the College’s leadership team, faculty and trustees was formed. The committee met regularly, conferring with the College’s faculty senate, alumni, members of the Jesuit community, student-athletes and their parents, and community leaders. The process also included consultation with presidents who have moved from Division II to Division I athletics, as well as others who provided insight into the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics, the financial implications of competing in other conferences, and the relative risk of staying in Division II.
Upon conclusion of their work, the committee voted to support a reclassification to Division I, followed by a vote by Le Moyne’s Board of Trustees in favor of the move.
“In both the short- and long-term, the College’s decision to make this move will benefit Le Moyne in a number of ways,” said Pete DiLaura ’78, chair of Le Moyne Board of Trustees. “One of the initial benefits will be the increased awareness for Le Moyne that will come from competing against institutions located in new, larger markets.”
Le Moyne becomes the third full-time addition to the NEC in the last five years, with Merrimack College and Stonehill College admitted in 2018 and 2022, respectively. NEC member institutions include Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, Long Island University, Merrimack, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis University, Stonehill and Wagner.
About the Northeast Conference
Founded in 1981, the Northeast Conference’s mission has remained remarkably consistent over its 42 years – to provide opportunities for student-athletes to achieve their fullest potential in the classroom, in athletic competition and in the community. Its focus is on the areas of student-athlete achievement, academic excellence, integrity, sportsmanship, diversity, equity and inclusion, innovation, community partnership and national engagement.
About Le Moyne College
· Le Moyne has won 44 conference championships in nine sports, and captured eight national championships (six in men’s lacrosse, one in women’s lacrosse and an individual championship in swimming and diving).
· Le Moyne has earned 135 NCAA Tournament bids, including 26 over the last five years.
· For 39 consecutive semesters, Le Moyne student-athletes have maintained an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
· Le Moyne joins the NEC after 27 years as a member of the Northeast-10 Conference