Stonehill to move up to the FCS, join Northeast Conference in 2022

By Brian Wilmer -

The Stonehill Skyhawks have accepted an invitation to join the Northeast Conference (NEC), it was officially announced on Tuesday.

Stonehill, currently a member of the Northeast-10 Conference in Division II, will move up to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and will officially become a member of the Northeast Conference on July 1, 2022.

“On behalf of the NEC membership, I am thrilled to welcome President Fr. John Denning, Athletic Director Dean O’Keefe and the Stonehill College community to the NEC family,” said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. “As we progressed through the membership evaluation process, it became abundantly clear that Stonehill will be a tremendous fit for the NEC from an academic, athletic and mission perspective. The Skyhawks have a strong history of success in all three realms, and they are well positioned to elevate to the Division I ranks and strengthen the NEC. We are extremely excited to kickoff the NEC and Stonehill College partnership this fall!”

Stonehill College, located in Easton, Mass., 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 2022. Football will be eligible following the completion of the reclassification period at the start of the 2026 season.

“Stonehill’s move to Division I and membership in the Northeast Conference is a transformational moment in our history, and we are thrilled our student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics,” said O’Keefe. “Our students, alumni, coaches, faculty, staff and the entire Stonehill community have together created a special tradition of athletic and academic excellence, and we are eager to build upon that strong foundation as Stonehill begins a bold new chapter of its exciting story.”

With the addition of Stonehill, the NEC will have eight football-playing members in 2022. The Skyhawks will join Central Connecticut State, Duquesne, LIU, Merrimack, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis (Pa.), and Wagner.

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Comments (6)

Very sad day for FCS football. Never would have guessed the NEC could become weaker than it already has been.

Why do they have to wait so long to become eligible for championship? As a fan of D2 sports, should be worried about D2 football? It seems like they all want to make the move to FCS. But–if you want to be D1 in other sports, I guess FCS is a viable option.