UMass accepts invitation to join MAC as full member in 2025

By Kevin Kelley -

The UMass Minutemen have accepted an invitation to join the Mid-American Conference (MAC) as a full member in 2025, the school announced on Thursday.

UMass will officially join the MAC on July 1, 2025 and will compete in football, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s indoor/outdoor track & field, women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and women’s tennis.

“As one of the nation’s leading public research universities, with a rich tradition of intercollegiate athletics, UMass Amherst is well suited to join the similarly situated institutions of the Mid-American Conference,” said UMass Chancellor Javier A. Reyes. “We are aligned with the MAC in our institutional missions, our values, and the profound impact we have on our respective communities. We join the MAC with great enthusiasm knowing that this affiliation through athletics will elevate and extend the profile and exposure of both UMass Amherst and all members of the MAC’s member institutions significantly.”

UMass hockey will remain in the Hockey East Association. Information on future conference membership plans for UMass men’s soccer, men’s lacrosse, and women’s rowing will be announced later.

“Our entire athletics program will benefit greatly by aligning and partnering with the Mid-American conference and its member institutions,” said Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford. “As we consider our future in a very challenging and choppy college athletics landscape, having conference peers with similar institutional profiles, aspirations and commitments toward athletics excellence will provide stability and strength. Furthermore, our transition to the MAC will provide additional resources allowing our department to evolve and grow in a manner that will support student academic success and competitive excellence.”

The Minutemen were a football-only member of the MAC from 2012 through 2015, amassing a combined 8-40 record (7-25 conference) during their time in the conference. UMass went Independent following the 2015-16 campaign, and has gone 16-72 in that period.

The move will give the MAC 13 football-playing institutions. UMass will join Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, and Western Michigan.

“Today marks a historic moment for the Mid-American Conference as we proudly welcome the University of Massachusetts into our family,” said MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher. “Adding UMass is an exciting next step as we increase the strength of our collective programs. We are thrilled to welcome their student-athletes, coaches, administrators, alumni and fans to the Conference. The opportunity to add a state flagship institution with exceptional academics and a storied athletics tradition does not come along often. I look forward to our collaborative efforts in providing outstanding opportunities for student-athletes to maximize their intellectual and athletic pursuits.”

“The addition of UMass expands our geographic footprint into the Northeast, which is a very attractive market, and it will strengthen our league for many years to come,” said Geoffrey S. Mearns, President of Ball State University. “With an outstanding academic reputation and an excellent record of athletic success, UMass aligns fully with the MAC’s mission and our core values.”

Future UMass Football Schedules

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Comments (10)

I don’t think the MAC is done.

As mentioned in the article a couple days ago Youngstown State should also join for all sports including football and Cleveland State and Robert Morris as non-football members, RMU keeping football in FCS, and Richmond and UConn for football only.

If need be I’ll copy my proposed schedule formats for football and basketball from the other article over here.

They don’t need Youngstown State when they have Akron and Kent State, and Cleveland State and Robert Morris are horrible additions.

Now UConn should join the MAC leaving only Notre Dame as the only independent. Greedy Notre Dame should have joined the Big Ten or SEC years ago.

They tried years ago,.. but were rejected, so now they are stubborn. 🤷🏼‍♂️

Uconn has better schedules than MAC schools as independents. Minus well stay indy for the time being.

So much for my comment a couple of weeks ago talking about the MAC exhibiting level heads. Sigh. There’s a reason this arrangement didn’t work a decade ago, why will it, now?

Josh, I agree. This is an odd arrangement. I think it would have made more sense for them to push to join the American Athletic Conference.

More conference games,not less! you have a outstanding nickname & you have somebody that a Fan of Conference games in College Football & just a few like 3 or 4 for OOC.