America East Conference
The America East Conference is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA Division I whose members are located in the Northeastern United States. The conference has ten core members including nine public research universities, three of which: University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, and University of Vermont are the flagship universities of their states. Stony Brook University is a member of the AAU. Three of the four university centers of the State University of New York are in the conference: University at Albany, Binghamton University and Stony Brook University. University of Hartford is the only private university. Of the ten members, nine are located within the borders of 7 contiguous states. The tenth, UMBC, is the only institution not bordering other conference institutions. UMass Lowell and NJIT are the latest institutions to join the conference.
America East Conference sponsors 18 sports (8 men's and 10 women's). The conference is among the best in the country according to Graduation Success Rate (GSR) data released by the NCAA.
The America East Conference was founded as the Eastern College Athletic Conference-North, a men's basketball-only athletic conference in 1979. The conference was known as the Eastern College Athletic Conference-North from 1979 to 1988 and the North Atlantic Conference from 1988 to 1996. The charter members were the University of Rhode Island, the College of the Holy Cross, Canisius College, Niagara University, Colgate University, Northeastern University, Boston University, the University of Maine, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Vermont. The America East Conference made history during the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament on March 16, 2018 when No. 16 seed UMBC defeated No. 1 seed Virginia, marking the first time in men's tournament history that a No. 1 seed had lost to a No. 16 seed.
Four schools currently hold associate membership: 2 from California, 1 from Virginia, and 1 from New Jersey.
Four schools (University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Davis, Stanford University and University of the Pacific) from California moved their field hockey teams into the America East in July 2015. The California schools and America East planned to end their agreement in field hockey after the 2018 season (2018–19 school year) due to coast to coast distance and travel inconvenience, but the invitation to the west coast members was extended and they have remained in the America East field hockey until further notice. University of the Pacific have dropped their program to reduce travel cost. This also coincided with the announcement that Monmouth would become the newest field hockey associate for the 2019 season and beyond. Stanford dropped their program in the summer of 2020, as part of an athletics cut that discontinued 11 sports, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four schools have had single-sport membership in the past. Two of these, Fairfield and Providence, moved their America East sports into their all-sports conferences. The third, NJIT, left when it joined a conference that sponsored its America East sport, but returned as a full member in July 2020. Pacific dropped its America East sport following the 2018–19 academic year due to budget cuts. Stanford dropped field hockey in 2020 also due to budget cuts.
The America East Conference sponsors championship competition in eight men's and ten women's NCAA sanctioned sports. The most recent changes to the roster of America East sports were announced in 2016, with the dropping of women's tennis after the 2015–16 season due to a lack of sponsoring teams and the revival of men's swimming and diving effective in the 2017–18 school year.
No America East school has won a national title in a sport sponsored by the conference; however, member institutions have been national champions in non-America East sports.