Tuesday, December 4, 2012

MAAC To Consider Expansion at Upcoming Meeting

The MAAC might be replacing departing league member Loyola (off to the Patriot League after the current academic year) not only sooner than later, but with at least two and, maybe, three new members.

A report that first surfaced in the Connecticut Post newspaper, as reported by Bill Paxton, who is as credible and knowledgeable a conference beat reporter (he covers Fairfield primarily) as there is, indicates that Quinnipiac University and Monmouth could be joining the conference.

The loss of Loyola would have the MAAC down to nine teams, but conference commissioner Rich Ensor has been empowered, for several years, to try to increase membership to as many as 12.

If the speculation proves to be true, the addition of Quinnipiac (Hamden, Ct.) and Monmouth (West Long Branch, N.J.) would bring membership up to 11. For scheduling purposes, an even number of schools would likely be preferred, so don't discount the possibility of yet another school also coming aboard.

Paxton's reports indicates that Wagner College has also been linked to the MAAC in the past, but does not cite a source.

Your Hoopscribe, through very second-hand sources within the conference (although employed by the MAAC, league officials reveal no more to your correspondent than they would to any other "reporter"), has heard that Bryant University (Smithfield, R.I.) might also be under consideration.

Then again, bringing both Bryant and Quinnipiac in might create an inbalance of New England territory schools (current league member Fairfield is the third).

Wagner (Staten Island) makes for an easy travel partner with several other New York Metropolitan area MAAC members.

Monmouth, meanwhile, recently opened a brand new 4,100-seat on-campus facility for basketball and could be a nice and near-by site for league post-season play.

Our second-half source has indicated that there has been some very preliminary inquiries made about the potential of the Barclay Center in Brooklyn as a potential future neutral site for the men's post-season basketball tournament. If indeed that comes to pass, the theory is that Monmouth would be a near-enough site to simultaneously host the women's post-season event.

Quinnipiac, Wagner, Monmouth and Bryant are all current members of the Northeast Conference (NEC).

MAAC commissioner Rich Ensor has indicated that the conference has yet to extend any invitations. But, that could happen after the MAAC presidents meet in New York City on Dec. 14.

Ensor, according to published reports, said expansion will be discussed at that meeting, although he declined to identify potential new members.

Paxton, in his Connecticut Post report, indicated that Fairfield athletic director Gene Doris confirmed that conference presidents formed a committee and have looked at multiple schools as potential new members, but was that he was not aware that a decision had been reached on expansion.

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