Just a year after the addition of Mount Saint Mary’s University, Fairfield University will be joined by some company in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference next season.

Merrimack College and crosstown foe Sacred Heart University will be joining the MAAC as full-time members beginning on July 1, 2024, expanding the conference from its current size of 11 full-time members to 13. The two universities are currently members of the Northeastern Conference (NEC), which will see the number of full-time members drop from nine to seven as a result of their impending departures.

“This is a significant and exciting day for the MAAC as we welcome two outstanding institutions to our conference,” said MAAC Commissioner Travis Tellitocci, according to a press release.

“The addition of both schools extends our presence in major metropolitan areas, elevates our brand and enriches our conference. We are proud to welcome the Merrimack and Sacred Heart student-athletes, coaches, administrators, alumni and fans to the MAAC.”

“Merrimack and Sacred Heart are two institutions that share our emphasis on the overall well-being of our student-athletes,” said MAAC President and Quinnipiac University President Judy Olian, according to a press release. 

“We’re a conference that has always prided itself on the academic focus of our student-athletes, their character, alongside their athletic distinctions. All of us in the MAAC are enthusiastic to expand the conference with these two schools as they share our values and commitment to the academic, athletic and personal growth of our students.”

The addition of the Pioneers will take the Battle of Fairfield to new heights, as both schools will be facing each other more often. Traditionally, both schools have faced off against each other once per season in their respective sports in non-conference play, but with this change, they could be facing each other at least twice per season and possibly more often in MAAC tournament play.

This is an exciting time for both universities, as both schools have invested in upgraded facilities in recent years. Fairfield opened the Leo D. Mahoney Arena last November for its volleyball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams, and Sacred Heart opened its doors to the Matire Family Arena this past January, home to its hockey program.For more information about the news, please visit www.maacsports.com.

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