Stony Brook sports teams will need to receive general offers for all NCAA tournaments if the Seawolves are to qualify for the playoffs this year.
The America East announced Wednesday that the school is ineligible for postseason conference tournament play as it moves to the Colonial Athletic Association next year. Stony Brook said last week he was leaving the America East.
In America East bylaws, the intention of a member institution to withdraw from the conference renders athletic teams from that school ineligible to participate in the league playoffs, “on a date to be determined by the other members of the Council of Presidents”.
This rule has been in the conference’s bylaws since 2005 and had already been put into effect in 2012-13 when Boston University left for the Patriot League. The conference presidents met last week and unanimously agreed to abide by the bylaws.
“This decision was not taken lightly, and the Council of Presidents recognizes that some may disagree with it,” the America East Conference said in a statement. “The Conference has an obligation to prioritize the remaining members who are committed to the advancement of the league and the student-athletes who compete in these institutions, now and in the future.”
Stony Brook’s women‘s basketball team currently sits first in the conference and has non-conference wins over St. John’s and Rutgers. The men’s program is second to Vermont. Both teams, along with other Stony Brook sports, would still be eligible to win general offers for an NCAA tournament.
“Following our announcement that we will be moving to the Colonial Athletic Association, we were extremely disappointed to be advised by America East that Stony Brook student-athletes would not be permitted to compete for conference championships and therefore the possibility of earning automatic NCAA team qualification,” said Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron.
“This decision does nothing to advance the interests of the conference, but rather punishes the talented student-athletes at Stony Brook University and goes against the decision the Council of Presidents made last spring when the University of Hartford has announced that it is leaving the conference. As a result, Stony Brook plans to consider all options, legal and otherwise, to respond to this decision.”
Hartford announced last year that it would switch to a Division III athletics program to save money.
The Colonial Athletic Association made a decision similar to America East’s current decision on Stony Brook’s postseason play over James Madison, who announced last year he was leaving the conference.