“It is an honor for UMBC to join the America East Conference. We are delighted to be among outstanding schools that enjoy national reputations for academic and athletic excellence.”
— President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
UMBC Joins the NCAA America East Conference
May 9, 2003 – The UMBC Retrievers have accepted an invitation to join the NCAA America East Conference in the 2003-2004 academic year. The Retrievers have been in the NCAA Northeast Conference since 1998.
The University’s nine new intercollegiate athletic rivals are mid-sized research institutions in New York and New England: Boston University; Northeastern University; the University of Hartford; the University of Maine; the University of New Hampshire; the University of Vermont; and the Albany, Binghamton, and Stony Brook campuses of the State University of New York system. The move to the America East Conference advances UMBC’s athletics program and brings greater visibility in key recruiting areas.
“We were looking for a 10th member, and our presidents were very clear that it had to be someone special,” said league commissioner Chris Monasch. “UMBC is a natural fit for the conference, with an academic and athletics mission similar to our current members.”
UMBC’s student-athletes have performed extremely well in the Northeast Conference, including winning the Commissioner’s Cup (for the top overall athletics program in the conference) four times. America East champions earn automatic qualification to 12 NCAA championships, including men’s and women’s basketball, lacrosse, and soccer.
In addition to competing in athletics, America East schools also compete for the Academic Cup, honoring the institution whose student-athletes compile the highest composite GPA over the academic year. This past spring, nearly 51 percent of UMBC’s student-athletes earned GPAs of 3.0 or higher.