The Robert Morris Colonials football team will rejoin the Northeast Conference (NEC) in 2024, the school announced on Tuesday.
“We’re pleased to welcome Robert Morris back to the NEC football community,” said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. “Their return not only strengthens our football profile, but also will reignite longtime rivalries and create new ones. Given RMU’s rich football tradition within the NEC, we anticipate more exciting moments to come.”
Robert Morris began playing at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level in 1994 and competed in the Northeast Conference from 1996 through 2019. The Colonials played as an FCS Independent in 2020 before joining the Big South Conference for 2021 and 2022 and then competing in the Big South-OVC Association in 2023.
“We want to thank Commissioners Sherika Montgomery and Beth DeBauche, and former Commissioner Kyle Kallander, for providing RMU Football an opportunity for membership and their support over the previous three years,” said RMU Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris King. The move to rejoin the NEC as an associate member in football restores longtime local rivalries with Duquesne and Saint Francis U as well as the NEC football playing members within our geographic footprint, which will have a positive impact on our scheduling and travel. For our long-term growth, the NEC is certainly the right move for our football program. We are excited about this next chapter and continuing the forward momentum of RMU Football.”
“The RMU Football program would like to thank the Big South Conference and the Big South-OVC Football Association for the opportunity they gave us against outstanding competition,” said head coach Bernard Clark. “We certainly look forward to renewing old NEC rivalries and competing against familiar opponents as well as embracing the familiarity of the league.”
According to the release, NEC football will have “seven competing programs” next season, as RMU will join Central Connecticut, LIU, Saint Francis U, Stonehill, and Wagner, as well as affiliate member Duquesne.
The status of two other NEC football programs — Merrimack and Sacred Heart — is currently in question. The two schools are leaving the NEC for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in 2024, but the MAAC does not sponsor football.