The University of Maine’s athletic teams will have a new conference opponent next season.
With Stony Brook and Hartford leaving America East after this school year, the league has added Bryant University of Smithfield, Rhode Island, to the fold.
Stony Brook is joining the Colonial Athletic Association while Hartford is continuing its transition to NCAA Division III from Division I.
With two teams leaving and one coming in, there will be nine teams in the America East men’s and women’s basketball ranks next winter; nine women’s soccer teams; eight for men’s soccer; seven for baseball; and six softball teams.
There will still be seven men’s and women’s lacrosse teams as Hartford doesn’t offer the sport.
Stony Brook and Hartford don’t have field hockey so Bryant will be the 10th team in the conference.
The Bryant men’s basketball team won the Northeast Conference’s regular season and tournament championship and played a first four preliminary round game in the NCAA Tournament where it lost to Wright State (Ohio) 93-82.
The Bulldogs finished 22-10 overall, 15-2 in the conference.
The other highly successful program was baseball, as the Bulldogs went 27-14-1 a year ago, 21-4 in the conference.
The Board of Presidents unanimously voted to welcome Bryant, which will officially join the conference on July 1, 2022.
“We are thrilled that Bryant University will join America East as a full member institution starting next academic year,” said America East Commissioner, Brad Walker in a press release. “Bryant’s reputation as an academic institution combined with its athletics success will help strengthen our conference in all facets.”