The Great Northeast Athletic Conference is thrilled to announce the additions of Mitchell College and New England College as its 15th and 16th core member institutions, as announced by GNAC commissioner Joe Walsh on Tuesday morning.
Both the Mariners and the Pilgrims will join the conference beginning in the fall of 2023.
“The addition of Mitchell and New England College will provide continued stability to our current 22 championship offerings, and possibly allow for more GNAC championship opportunities in the future,” said Walsh. “The geographical location of the two schools also allows our administrators to discuss further divisional play options, while it also helps reduce student-athlete missed class time academically.”
Currently members of the New England Collegiate Conference, Mitchell is located in New London, Conn., while NEC is located in Henniker, NH
The NECC has seen its membership slowly dwindle. Mitchell and NEC are two of the four remaining all-sports members of the conference. Lesley is already scheduled to join the North Atlantic Conference. Eastern Nazarene has yet to find a new home for 2023.
Mitchell sponsors 12 varsity sports, all of which will compete within the GNAC – baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, and women’s volleyball.
“Mitchell College is honored to have been invited to join the Great Northeast Athletic Conference,” said Tracy Y. Espy, president of Mitchell. “Being part of the GNAC is a huge win for our coaches, students and the institution as a whole. We look forward to being in great company with the other GNAC institutions of excellence.”
“The GNAC is a wonderful fit for us that will have a positive impact for all of our student-athletes and programs,” said Matt Finlayson, Mitchell director of athletics. “Becoming a member of the GNAC provides us with an opportunity to continue to grow and enhance athletics. It’s regionally located and is comprised of members that we can compete with while sharing similar institutional values. We are excited and looking forward to the future in the GNAC.”
Thirteen of NEC’s 22 sports will operate under the GNAC umbrella – baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, and women’s volleyball.
“New England College is honored and delighted to be invited to join the GNAC,” said Dr. Michele Perkins, NEC Chancellor. “This conference, and the colleges who are members, enjoy a reputation for excellence in athletics and academics, commitment to learning and leadership, and unwavering support for diversity and inclusion. In short, the GNAC embodies the key values of NCAA Division III. We are proud to be a new GNAC member and look forward to lively competition next year!”
“We are thrilled to be able to join the GNAC as full members,” said David DeCew, NEC director of athletics. “We know this new affiliation will be a great fit for our athletic programs and we look forward to bringing more value to the conference. The league’s core values of community, sportsmanship, and integrity align with our beliefs and holistic approach to student-athlete development . We are moving into this partnership with full commitment and excitement.”
Most recently, Elms joined the GNAC in 2021 after Dean joined in 2020. Prior to that, Regis (Mass.) was added in 2017 and Colby-Sawyer came aboard in 2018.
Mitchell and NEC join Albertus Magnus, Anna Maria, Colby-Sawyer, Dean, Elms, Emmanuel, Johnson & Wales, Lasell, Norwich, Regis (Mass.), Rivier, St. Joseph (Conn.) and Simmons.