|Salve Regina athletics photo|
The New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference is thrilled to welcome Salve Regina as its newest member institution following unanimous support from the NEWMAC Presidents Council. Salve Regina will become the conference’s 12th core member effective July 1, 2023 and will begin participating in conference play during the 2023-2024 academic year.
Dave McHugh of Hoopsville originally reported the move on June 30. The announcement comes on the heels of the Commonwealth Coast Conference adding University of Hartford, which is moving from Division I. Salve Regina is leaving the CCC.
“Welcoming Salve Regina University to the NEWMAC is one that we do with great anticipation and excitement,” said Springfield president and chair of the NEWMAC Presidents Council, Mary-Beth Cooper. “This expansion not only diversifies our conference’s geographical footprint, but provides the NEWMAC with another like-minded institution that aligns with our core values and broadens our institutional portfolio. As our conference continues to emerge out of the pandemic stronger than ever, I’m confident that Salve Regina’s addition to the NEWMAC provides strength, stability, and opportunity.”
“The NEWMAC institutions are known not only for their academic excellence but their commitment to the support of the whole student and the creation of inclusive educational environments,” said Salve Regina president Kelly J. Armstrong. “Salve Regina is truly honored to be a member of this prestigious and progressive athletic conference.”
As its 12th member, Salve Regina will participate in 16 of the NEWMAC’s 20 sports, having immediate impact by increasing team sponsorship and championship field size, while bolstering the competitiveness within the conference, regionally and nationally in Division III. NEWMAC student-athletes can add Newport, Rhode Island, as a destination, as the conference now reaches three New England states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
“As the chair of the NEWMAC Expansion Task Force, it has been an honor and a privilege working with the exceptional members of our conference as we looked across the landscape of higher-education to identify the best institution to join us in pursuit of our goals ” expresses Rear Admiral William Kelly, superintendent of the US Coast Guard Academy. “Salve Regina University is the perfect fit for the NEWMAC and their commitment to the student-athlete experience is inspiring. We look forward to having them join us and I am confident their addition to the conference will ensure the strength and stability of the NEWMAC during a period of significant change in college athletics.”
As Salve Regina officially joins the NEWMAC on July 1, 2023, both the NEWMAC and Salve Regina will be concluding celebrations of their 25-Year and 75-Year anniversaries, respectively. These celebrations and similar strategic goals show the parallels between the NEWMAC institutions, which only solidifies and supports the conference’s expansion to add Salve Regina University as a core member, while continuing to display dedication and commitment to the student-athlete experience.
“It is exciting to welcome Salve Regina University as the conference’s 12th member,” expresses NEWMAC executive director Patrick B. Summers. “My sincere thanks go to RADM Kelly and the members of the Task Force, President Cooper for her continued leadership as chair of the NEWMAC Presidents Council and President Armstrong and her team at Salve for their absolute commitment to our process. There is something quite significant about the NEWMAC celebrating its 25th anniversary, Title IX celebrating its 50th anniversary and Salve celebrating its 75th anniversary as we welcome them into a conference that champions academic and athletic excellence and was founded as an all women’s athletic conference.”
Salve Regina University sponsors 20 varsity sports. The Seahawks will participate in 16 NEWMAC sponsored sports: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s track and field and volleyball.
As a full member of the conference which sponsors football, Salve Regina joins Coast Guard, MIT, Springfield and WPI. Having just four core members with football meant that the NEWMAC was subject to some instability in terms of conference membership for football. The conference lost Maine Maritime, which was an affiliate member and dropped football, then lost Catholic when the Landmark announced it was adding two schools and starting football. The NEWMAC added SUNY-Maritime as a football affiliate and get back to seven football programs. Salve will not only be a fifth core member, but an eighth football program overall, further solidifying the NEWMAC’s automatic bid and making scheduling easier.
“Becoming a member of the NEWMAC conference is a wonderful opportunity for our student-athletes and staff to grow and succeed regionally and nationally,” said Salve Regina athletic director, Jody Mooradian. “While we have had great success in our current conference and enjoy the relationships we have there, we look forward to collaborating with a new set of administrators, coaches and student athletes.”
Losing Salve Regina will leave the CCC with just six football programs, but under new regulations, that will be enough for an automatic bid. The CCC could shore up its conference by inviting members of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, which will have just five football programs in 2023 and would be in danger of losing its automatic bid in 2025.