Mercyhurst to move up to the FCS, join Northeast Conference in 2024

By Brian Wilmer -

The Mercyhurst Lakers have accepted an invitation to join the Northeast Conference (NEC), it was officially announced on Thursday.

Mercyhurst, currently a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in Division II, will move up to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and will officially become a member of the Northeast Conference effective for the fall semester in 2024.

“Today marks a watershed moment for Mercyhurst University, amplifying our commitment to excellence in all that we do,” Mercyhurst President Kathleen A. Getz, Ph.D. said in a statement released by the school. “In making this transition to the Northeast Conference, we believe our Mercyhurst community, our alumni, and devoted fans will benefit from a new era of spirited competition and connectedness, forging an enduring legacy for future generations of Lakers. Further, we are truly grateful for the gracious welcome extended to us by Commissioner Noreen Morris and the NEC Council of Presidents, whose values and mission are strategically aligned with our own.”

Mercyhurst University, located in Erie, Pa., will be included in the NEC regular-season schedules and will be eligible to compete in NEC Championships in non-automatic qualifying sports beginning in 2024. Football will be eligible following the completion of the reclassification period at the start of the 2028 season.

“Today, on behalf of the NEC Council of Presidents, we are delighted to extend a heartfelt welcome to Mercyhurst University as the newest member of the NEC,” NEC commissioner Noreen Morris said. “Mercyhurst’s commitment to bringing out the best in their student-athletes, both on the field and in the classroom, alongside their focus on community engagement, deeply resonated with our mission and values. We appreciate President Kathleen Getz and Athletic Director Joe Spano for their exceptional leadership throughout this process. Their forward-thinking vision and meticulous planning have positioned the Lakers for a seamless and successful transition to Division I and the NEC. We’re eager to kick off this partnership, which promises to uplift the conference and invigorate both the vibrant campus life at Mercyhurst and the surrounding Erie community.”

The Lakers’ addition means the NEC will have eight football-playing members in 2024. Mercyhurst will join Central Connecticut State, Duquesne, LIU, Saint Francis (Pa.), Stonehill, and Wagner.

Mercyhurst finished last season 2-9 (1-6 PSAC) in what will now be their final season as Division II members.

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Comments (5)

They will do fine, as they play Indiana and California every year. Oh wait, those are the Crimson Hawks and the Vulcans – not the Hoosiers and Bears.

Maybe not the move that I would have expected. I always figured that Grand Valley State would be the first team with the “Lakers” nickname to go Division I. But then again, Mercyhurst has long played Division I ice hockey (with some success), and so maybe this is no surprise. Go Lakers!

114% Enthusiastic with Mercyhurst Lakers joining Northeast Conference & moving up to FCS for College Football.

Go Mercyhurst Lakers!!!

If I were living in Erie,PA My co-favorite NFL Teams would be Philadelphia Eagles & Buffalo Bills.

HOW Exciting! A team that won 2 games in D-II joins the worst conference in all of D-I football. Every year you think the NEC can’t possibly sink any lower, they manage to find a way to expand this basement.