Emerson to join NEWMAC

Eli Kell-Abrams, who was recently named the GNAC men's basketball rookie of the year, would play in the NEWMAC as a senior.
Emerson athletics photo

The New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference got its start in 1998, when the New England Women's 8 absorbed members of the Constitution Athletic Conference and became a men's and women's conference. The conference is making its first addition since, announcing that Emerson will join for the 2013-14 season.

The Lions will be coming from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.

The Presidents’ Council voted unanimously to extend an invitation to Emerson, which sponsors teams in baseball (14-24 in their most recently completed season, 0-1 against NEWMAC teams), men’s (7-19, 0-3) and women’s basketball (9-16, 1-0), men’s and women’s cross country, women’s lacrosse (7-9, 0-1), men’s (9-9, 0-1) and women’s soccer (6-10-1, 0-0), softball (26-12, 0-0), men’s (4-9, 0-4) and women’s tennis (8-5, 0-2) and women’s volleyball (24-8, 1-1). Emerson also sponsors men's lacrosse (2-12, 0-0) and men's volleyball (11-18, 0-2), which are not NEWMAC sports.

“On behalf of the NEWMAC Presidents’ Council, I am thrilled to welcome Emerson into our conference,” said Lynn Pasquerella, president of Mount Holyoke and chair of the NEWMAC Presidents’ Council. “Emerson College clearly demonstrates the commitment to academic and athletic excellence that is at the center of the NEWMAC's mission.”

“On behalf of the Emerson College community, it gives me great pleasure to accept the invitation to join the NEWMAC as its 11th member,” said Emerson president Lee Pelton. “We are proud to be counted among such distinctive academic institutions and the opportunities our association with them will offer to our student athletes to develop the capacities for leadership, excellence, and collaboration that are so important to succeed in life.”

The addition of Emerson fulfills an ongoing strategic initiative by the NEWMAC Presidents’ Council to expand conference membership in order to provide the highest-quality experience for its institutions, athletic programs and student-athletes. The college’s mission and values are consistent with those of the NEWMAC and its academic uniqueness and standards and geographic proximity to the current NEWMAC members fit the expectations of the conference.

NEWMAC president and Mount Holyoke athletic diretor Laurie Priest added: “The NEWMAC supports the highest standards of excellence in Division III athletics and Emerson College clearly shares all of the NEWMAC's core values including excellence, integrity, commitment, equity and diversity. We are delighted to welcome Emerson into the NEWMAC and know they will enhance the competitive opportunities for our student-athletes.”

Emerson athletic director Kristen Parnell remarked “This is truly an exciting opportunity for Emerson athletics, as we feel the NEWMAC offers Emerson an elite level of competition and academic excellence that pairs perfectly with the mission of both the college and the athletic department.”

Emerson becomes the NEWMAC’s first new member since the addition of Springfield and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1998, which coincided with the establishment of the conference in its current form, as the former New England Women’s 8 Conference (NEW 8) began sponsoring regular season and championship competition for men.

The NEW 8 began play in 1985-86 as the New England Women's 6 Conference (NEW 6). Its charter members were Babson, Brandeis, MIT, Smith, Wellesley and Wheaton (Mass.). Mount Holyoke and WPI joined in 1988 and the name was changed to the NEW 8 Conference. At the conclusion of the 1994-95 academic year, Brandeis withdrew from the NEW 8 to join the University Athletic Association and Clark accepted membership, keeping the NEW 8's membership at eight institutions.