Bryant University accepted an invitation Tuesday to join the America East Conference, effective July 1, 2022. The move will have a sizable impact on New England’s D1 baseball scene, as the Bulldogs are currently nine-time defending regular-season Northeast Conference champions.
Bryant will join a conference that includes Maine, UMass Lowell, Albany, NJIT, Stony Brook, UMBC, Binghamton and Hartford, although Hartford is in the process of making a full transition to Division 3 by the start of the 2024-25 academic year.
Bryant has been dominant in the NEC since making the transition to Division 1 in 2008-09, winning 80 of their 84 series since joining the league. Third-year Bryant coach Ryan Klosterman had yet to take a big-picture view of his program’s move to America East when contacted this morning.
“I really don’t have enough information or knowledge of the conference to speak about the transition, the positives, the opportunities or the obstacles ahead,” Klosterman said. “I’m still trying to figure out the NEC. I’m focused on this year, this group, and our next game against Brown tonight.”
If no other team announces a move to the Northeast Conference, that will leave seven schools for the 2023 season. Those will include Central Connecticut, Merrimack, Sacred Heart, Wagner, Mount St. Mary’s, Farleigh Dickinson and LIU. Bryant’s move will also take the teeth out of competitive conference rivalries with New England counterparts CCSU and Sacred Heart. While Bryant has won nine consecutive NEC regular-season titles, CCSU and Sacred Heart have matched the Bulldogs with three NEC Tournament titles each during that same stretch.
“America East is one of the most comprehensive Division 1 conferences in the country and will allow us to further build our presence from the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast,” said Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D.