College: Stonehill announces they are going Division One and joining the NEC

What has been rumored for months was officially confirmed yesterday when Stonehill College announced they are moving up to Division One in all sports. The majority of programs will join the NEC. Hockey will be an independent.

Stonehill was a charter member of the NE-10 and had been a part of the conference all 41 years of its existence. However the school felt that now was the right time to make the jump up and join the NEC. Father John Denning, school president showed great appreciation to the NEC for admitting Stonehill to their conference.

“I am deeply appreciative to the Northeast Conference for inviting us,” said Denning. “As the College approaches its 75th anniversary, this move to the Northeast Conference and NCAA Division I athletics signals that Stonehill is prepared to achieve its fullest potential—both athletically and academically in the years to come. I also want to express my profound gratitude to the Northeast-10 Conference which has been Stonehill’s athletic home for decades.”

Athletic director Dean O’Keefe reinforced just how significant the move to the NEC was for Stonehill.

“Stonehill’s move to Division I and membership in the Northeast Conference is a transformational moment in our history, and we are thrilled our student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics,”

The move was long overdue and it is another sign that Division Two athletics is at a crossroads. In this day in age, you either commit to your athletic department financially and move up to Division One or you drop down to Division Three. It is hard being in Division Two, especially in the Northeast.

The Skyhawks football program finished 8-2 last season under head coach Eli Gardner. The program has been getting better in recent years. It is in a much different place than it was when I coached there briefly in 2000 and 2005.

I know I speak for Kevin and Adam in saying that we are excited about Stonehill moving up to Division One and the NEC. We look forward to covering the program this summer and fall.