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Gwynedd Mercy University, along with six current Division III institutions, has received approval from the NCAA to form the new Atlantic East Conference (AEC) effective September 1, 2018, and to begin competition in the 2018-19 season. The seven founding institutions of the Atlantic East include Gwynedd Mercy University, Cabrini University, Immaculata University, Marymount University, Marywood University, Neumann University, and Wesley College.
The AEC is being formed to foster athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, private colleges located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The geographic focus will bring together some of the top colleges in the region, while still allowing for a strong conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the student-athlete’s university experience.
“Gwynedd Mercy University is proud to be a founding member of the Atlantic East Conference,” says University President Deanne D’Emilio, JD. “The AEC creates a more competitive league to further develop and hone our student-athletes’ skills, both on and off the field.”
The creation of Atlantic East was a culmination of efforts by the presidents and athletic directors of the seven institutions and was an extremely collaborative effort. The combination of the AEC geographic footprint and the institutional focus offers GMercyU the opportunity to enhance the student-athlete experience.
“We are excited about the opportunity for our student-athletes to compete in the newly established Atlantic East Conference” says Keith Mondillo, Gwynedd Mercy University’s Director of Athletics. “The AEC will allow all of our sport programs to continue to compete at a high level, both regionally and nationally.”
The Atlantic East will initially sponsor and host championships for 19 sports within the NCAA Division III. With seven schools, the Atlantic East will be eligible for automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament beginning in the 2020-21 seasons in the sports which all schools offer. The search for the founding commissioner will begin on March 5, 2018.