And then there were 10
BU and Loyola brought into the fold
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 11:03
Two more teams standing between Lafayette and a championship title. Two more locations to add to the travel list. And two more reasons to question the Patriot League’s commitment to academic standards.
Last summer, the Patriot League announced that Boston University and Loyola College of Maryland will be joining the league in fall 2013. This change will expand the league from eight to 10 full members.
Boston is currently a member of the America East Conference; Loyola a member of the Big East in women’s lacrosse, the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) in men’s lacrosse, and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference(MAAC) in all other sports.
With football scholarships now a factor in the Patriot League, questions have arisen concerning the League’s commitment to their claimed academic priorities. Whether or not the new programs fit into the Patriot League dogma has crossed more than a few minds, on and off campus.
“The Patriot League thinks all the time about who the right members are,” President Daniel H. Weiss, Chair of the Patriot League’s Council of Presidents, said Tuesday during a phone interview.
After discussing the possibility of adding BU and Loyola to the members, the league then reached out to the schools to gauge interest and began a process of confirming membership that took several years to solidify.
The league considers potential members based off both academic and athletic performance. According to the league’s Media Relations Director Matt Dougherty, schools in the conference have to meet a certain academic index.
“Student athletes have to be representative of their class,” Dougherty said. “So they must be in the relatively average range.”
At Lafayette, the average high school GPA for the class of 2016 was 3.44 while GPAs for BU and Loyola were 3.7 and 3.65 respectively, according to their admissions websites.
With the addition of these teams, the Patriot League expands to two key markets: Boston and Baltimore. The league also plans to increase its alumni relations and appeal to media and prospective athletes.
Jenifer Barsell, the Media Contact for the Director of Athletics for Boston, said the university’s well-rounded, leadership driven student-athletes are a good fit for the Patriot League.
“We felt the stability of the Patriot League was a better fit for us [than the America East Conference],” Barsell said of BU.
According to Barsell, BU’s women’s sports are particularly competitive. Women’s soccer has been named America East League Champions nine times since 2000; the women’s tennis team has had 22 conference championships; women’s teams have had nine conference championships and produced 18 All-American players since 2000.
Boston University will join the league in all of their sports except for their men’s and women’s ice hockey teams, which will remain in the Hockey East Association.
For Loyola, the Patriot League offered a stability that was previously missing with the athletic program’s dissemination across three leagues.
“The move allowed us to bring our sports under one conference,” Ryan Eigenbrode, Loyola’s Director of Athletic Communications, said. “This provides stability for all of our programs.”
Loyola brings to the league the 2012 NCAA men’s lacrosse champions, the two-time defending Big East champion women’s lacrosse, the men’s basketball team that went to the second round in the 2012 NCAA tournament, and the men’s swimming and diving team that won three out of the last five championships.
Neither Loyola nor BU have a football team.