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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mass Changes

The latest rung on the realignment ladder comes directly into a conference near and dear to me, and this time, it's not the Big East. The UMass Lowell River Hawks are making the move from Division II to Division I and with it, adding men's and women's lacrosse and joining America East. The move will keep conference membership steady, as the River Hawks will replace the Boston University, who is departing for the Patriot League.

I'm happy for UMass Lowell. As a school, they first hit my radar about a decade ago as one of the few schools to have a marching band and no football team (coincidentally, BU is another). They're clearly looking to raise their profile with the move to Division I, and more power to 'em.

That said, their addition pings on what frustrates me about UMBC's continued affiliation with America East. The Retrievers joined the conference in 2003, making the move the season after I graduated, and to hear those more in the know tell it, the plan had always been to bridge the gap between MD and the rest of the conference in New York and New England. A few changes to conference membership have taken place since then, yet nearly a decade later, we still don't ha ve a conference foe closer than Stony Brook, some 250 miles away. I'm not sure if our eye is strategically wandering as realignment continues to roll along, but it ought to be.
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