The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Board of Directors announced on Monday, October 5th that the CCC will begin to oversee football as a championship sport beginning in 2017-18. The CCC will assume operation of a renamed New England Football Conference (NEFC).
Six institutions, including Salve Regina University, are expected to compete for the CCC championship and the right to earn automatic qualification to the NCAA Division III championship.
The addition of football will increase the number of championship sports overseen by the CCC to 17 and, with the recent addition of men’s hockey for 2016-17, becomes the third new championship sport to be offered by the CCC in a five-year period, as the Conference previously added men’s golf in 2013-14.
“As the CCC Chair, I am delighted that we are adding football as well as men’s hockey as varsity sports.’ stated Dr. Zorica Pantić, President of Wentworth Institute of Technology and Chair of the CCC Board of Directors. “The addition of these sports will make our conference even stronger.”
Currently, six institutions are expected to compete for the CCC football championship and the right to earn automatic qualification to the NCAA Division III football championship. As the renamed NEFC, CCC Football will enter a two-year grace period (2017-18 and 2018-19) during which it will seek to add an additional football-playing member in order to restore the conference to the NCAA-required level of seven members needed to maintain the Conference’s automatic qualification to the NCAA championship.
Current CCC football-playing institutions include Curry College, Endicott College, Nichols College, Salve Regina University and Western New England University. Those five institutions will welcome fellow CCC member University of New England as the Conference’s sixth football program when UNE begins playing a full varsity schedule in 2018, following one season of sub-varsity competition in 2017.
“I am proud to announce that the sport of football will become the 17th championship to be administered by the Commonwealth Coast Conference,” stated CCC Commissioner Gregg M. Kaye. “I am confident that the proud tradition that CCC institutions have helped build in the New England Football Conference will continue to grow as football moves under the CCC umbrella. Coupled with the recent addition of men’s ice hockey, I am very proud to state that the CCC becomes just the second Division III multi-sport conference in New England comprised entirely of private colleges and universities to oversee championships in men’s ice hockey and football. Our growth is a direct result of leadership at the conference level exhibited by the presidents at each of our member institutions, each of whom considers intercollegiate athletics to play a vitally important role in the undergraduate experience. Football student-athletes at CCC institutions will be able to enjoy the same competitive and championship experiences as past generations of CCC student-athletes.”
The five current CCC football-playing institutions have combined to make nine NCAA Division III football postseason appearances. Curry tops all CCC football programs with six NCAA tournament appearances (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). Endicott has advanced to NCAA championship play twice (2010, 2013), while Western New England has earned one NCAA postseason berth (2011).
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