Coast Guard Academy football team to change conferences in 2017

Academy FootbalBoston, Mass. – The New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) is excited to announce that it will begin sponsoring the sport of football starting in the 2017 season. Conference members, the United States Coast Guard Academy, MIT, Springfield College and WPI will be joined by Maine Maritime Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, and Norwich University, who enter the NEWMAC as associate members in 2017. Football becomes the 20th conference championship and the league’s ninth men’s offering.

“This is a wonderful moment for the NEWMAC,” said H. Kim Bottomly, president of Wellesley College and chair of the NEWMAC Presidents Council. “This growth is a testament to the continued academic and athletic excellence for which NEWMAC schools are known.”

Springfield, WPI, and Merchant Marine have been participating in the Liberty League, while MIT, Coast Guard, and Maine Maritime were members of the New England Football Conference, and Norwich was a part of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference. In addition to the connection Maine Maritime, Merchant Marine and Norwich have to Coast Guard, MIT, Springfield and WPI in football; they also have long-standing relationships with NEWMAC members in other sports.

Patrick B. Summers, the NEWMAC Executive Director, shared his excitement about the announcement, saying, “The NEWMAC’s commitment to academic and athletic excellence was once again first and foremost in the decision to bring football under the conference’s umbrella. The ability to add another sport which our institution’s sponsor under the conference’s jurisdiction allows us to help create the best possible experience for our student-athletes and falls in line with the NEWMAC’s Strategic Plan.”

Norwich, Maine Maritime, and Merchant Marine join the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (men’s lacrosse) and Simmons College (women’s rowing) as associate members in the conference.

Summers went on to say, “It gives me great pleasure to officially welcome Maine Maritime, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and Norwich University to the NEWMAC as associate members in the sport. It has been a pleasure working with these institutions and the NEWMAC administrators to establish NEWMAC football. It was clear that their desire to uphold the NEWMAC’s dedication to both academic and athletic excellence was sincere and made them ideal fit as pioneering members of this sport.”

The NEWMAC will not immediately receive an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Football Championship but institutions will be eligible to qualify for the Division III NCAA Football Championship through an at-large selection. Per NCAA bylaws, there is a two-year waiting period, and the conference should receive an AQ for the 2019-2020 academic year. The seven football-playing members of the NEWMAC have combined to go to 13 NCAA Tournaments and have played in 22 ECAC Championship Bowl Games. The NEWMAC will continue to evaluate the need for an eighth member.

“The sport of football occupies a prominent place in the culture of federal service academies, and as such the formation of NEWMAC football starting in 2017 represents a tremendous opportunity for the Coast Guard Academy,” said Rear Adm. Sandra L. Stosz. Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. “As Superintendent, it is very important to me that our athletic teams have the chance to compete regularly against institutions whose academic emphasis and core values closely align with ours. We are very proud to join the ranks of NEWMAC football, and look forward to high-spirited action and the formation of new rivalries, while continuing our historic, traditional competition with Norwich University and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. This is a great day for the NEWMAC and the Coast Guard Academy.”

“We at the Coast Guard Academy are very pleased and proud to be a part of creating NEWMAC football,” said Tim Fitzpatrick, Director of CGA Athletics. “This will enhance respectful rivalries that already exist with our NEWMAC brethren MIT, WPI and Springfield – as well as Maine Maritime from the NEFC. It is particularly advantageous that we will now compete in conference games starting in 2017 against our historic rivals Merchant Marine and Norwich. This is truly an historic day in the rich history of CGA football, and we look forward to the future with great anticipation.”

“We are excited with the formation of NEWMAC football and having long time archrival Merchant Marine as a league opponent once again,” said Bill George, head CGA football coach. “We are looking forward to renewing the series with Norwich, Springfield and WPI, all of whom are former rivals while maintaining our yearly league matchups with Maine Maritime and MIT. The NEWMAC is a strong conference with outstanding institutions and the addition of football is exciting for everyone involved and we look forward to beginning conference play in 2017.”

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