Stony Brook University will be gaining a new conference-mate for the upcoming season.
The America East Board of Presidents elected the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Highlanders as the 10th member of the conference on Friday, June 12, with their membership effective July 1. NJIT will leave their current home in the Atlantic Sun Conference, where they have resided since 2015, and begin America East play in the 2020-21 academic year.
“NJIT looks forward to joining our new athletic home, the America East Conference,” NJIT President Joel Bloom said in a press release. “The America East is comprised of both peer and aspirant universities, similar to NJIT are classified as among the highest national research universities – R1, nationally ranked in the top 100 of US News and in the top 50 of the public universities. For our student-athletes, they will be playing closer to home, traveling less during this COVID-19 pandemic, and thereby producing cost savings for the university.”
The news was first reported by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman on Twitter but disputed by Atlantic Sun commissioner Ted Gumbart, who declared “The tweet published by Jeff Goodman is inaccurate. More to come! Maybe we can become ‘trending’ on this rumor. That would be cool.”
This is the first shakeup in the America East since UMass Lowell joined in 2013 to replace the departing Boston University. The conference has not had 10 members since 2005, before Northeastern left for the Colonial Athletic Association.
NJIT, located in Newark, becomes the America East’s sole member in the state of New Jersey and is 63 miles away from Stony Brook University. Like all other America East institutions with the exception of Hartford, NJIT is a public school, but its total enrollment of 11,518 makes it one of the smallest universities in the conference.
“We’re adding a strong academic institution that is ready to compete,” Stony Brook Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron said on Twitter. “This makes sense on so many levels for us.”
Stony Brook is 5-1 all-time against NJIT in men’s basketball since both schools moved to Division I. Among America East sports, NJIT currently sponsors men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and field and cross country, women’s volleyball, baseball, men’s lacrosse and men’s swimming and diving.