|Becker athletics photo|
The Commonwealth Coast Conference has found its seventh team. Becker will join the college as an associate member for football when the conference replaces the New England Football Conference in 2017.
The conference will have six teams who sponsor varsity football in 2017, the first year of the two-year grace period for the CCC to retain the NEFC automatic bid. In 2018, the University of New England will play a varsity schedule for the first time, giving the CCC its seven teams necessary to retain an automatic bid under current Division III rules.
Becker also recently joined the CCC as an associate member in men’s ice hockey.
The move is the latest in a string of conference affiliation shifts in New England, starting with seven teams leaving established conferences to join the NEWMAC for football, an eighth joining the conference, the CCC taking over football from the NEFC, and the Liberty League hearing Ithaca's application to become the conference's sixth team for 2017.
“This is an exciting time for the Commonwealth Coast Conference and our member institutions, as the CCC brand is expanding with the addition of men’s ice hockey in 2016 and the operation of a football conference in 2017,” CCC commissioner Gregg M. Kaye said. “Becker College subscribes to the CCC’s core belief that intercollegiate athletics plays a vitally important role in the undergraduate experience. In addition to our recent addition of Becker as an associate member in men’s ice hockey, I am delighted equally to welcome Becker to the CCC as an associate member in football.”
Becker’s departure from the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, along with the departure of Norwich to the NEWMAC, will leave the ECFC short of the necessary number of teams and without an automatic bid starting in 2019.
“Becker College is truly thrilled to be joining the Commonwealth Coast Conference in football,” stated Frank Millerick, assistant vice president and athletic director at Becker College. “The CCC continues to make moves that strengthen its brand and identity and Becker is excited to be a part of this prominent conference. We look forward to competing in the CCC starting with the 2017 season.”
The five current CCC football-playing institutions have combined to make 10 NCAA Division III football postseason appearances. Curry tops all CCC football programs with six NCAA tournament appearances (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). Endicott has advanced to NCAA championship play twice (2010, 2013), while recently-crowned NEFC champion Western New England is currently preparing for its second NCAA postseason berth in five seasons (2011).
In 2015, Becker compiled a 7-3 overall record which was the program’s first winning season in 11 years of NCAA Division III competition.
“Competing in the Commonwealth Coast Conference is a challenge our program is excited about,” said Becker coach Mike Lichten. “Every week we will be tested by the best private schools in New England as every program plays the game with integrity and passion. We aim to make the conference proud to have us as a member both on and off the field.”
Here's how the various conferences affected by the New England conference shuffle would shake out in 2017.
|ECFC||Liberty League||CCC (former NEFC)||NEWMAC||ODAC|
||Emory & Henry|
||St. Lawrence||Salve Regina
||W. New England
|UNE in 2018||Merchant Marine
||Washington & Lee|
|Would lose AQ in 2019.
||Would lose AQ in 2019.||No change in AQ status.||Would gain AQ in 2019.||No change in AQ status.|