Bryant accepts invitation to join America East Conference


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

East America Contact: Sean Tainsh – Senior Associate Curator, Content Strategy

617-999-9947; [email protected]

Contact Bryant: Tristan Hobbes – Assistant Sporting Director for Communications

315-292-8361; [email protected]

SMITHFIELD, RI — Bryant University has accepted an invitation to join the America East Conference in all league-sponsored sports, effective July 1, 2022. Bryant will also accept an invitation to become an associate member of the Big South Conference for the soccer.

The Bulldogs will compete in the Northeastern Conference for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.

“We are thrilled to have Bryant University join America East as a full member institution beginning next academic year,” said America East Commissioner Brad Walker. “Bryant’s reputation as an academic institution combined with his success in athletics will help strengthen our conference in all areas.”

An official press conference is scheduled for Thursday, April 7 at the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology on the campus of Bryant University.

“There is tremendous momentum in the Bryant community right now,” said Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D. “In addition to our 1% best recognition for student achievement and return on investment, we are building new facilities, adding new majors, and accepting this invitation to join the America East conference America East is one of the most comprehensive Division I conferences in the nation and will allow us to further strengthen our center presence from the Atlantic to the northeast.

“I want to thank Commissioner Walker and the America East Board of Trustees for providing this incredible opportunity to the student-athletes, coaches and staff at Bryant University,” said the athletic director. Bill Smith. “America East is made up of universities and programs that excel nationally both on the playing field and in the classroom. We are honored to become a member of this outstanding conference and will work diligently to make them proud.”

Bryant University sponsors 25 Division I athletic programs. The Bulldogs have competed in the NEC since moving to Division I in 2008-09. During that time, Bryant earned two NEC Commissioner’s Cups, seven consecutive Men’s Commissioner’s Cups, 22 regular season championships, 31 tournament championships, 30 NCAA Tournament appearances, and produced 37 All-Americans.

“I want to thank Commissioner Morris and all of our friends in the Northeastern Conference for an incredible 14 years and for providing Bryant’s student-athletes with an exceptional experience,” Smith said.

Bryant’s men’s basketball program had a historic season this winter, winning regular season and NEC tournament titles for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs went 14-1 at home and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in DI program history, facing Wright State in the First Four.

The Bulldogs’ men’s lacrosse program has won six NEC championships and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in 2014. Bryant’s baseball program has won each of the past nine NEC regular season titles, the women’s program swimming and diving won five consecutive titles. championships, men’s swimming and diving won back-to-back titles and men’s tennis won a league-record six consecutive titles from 2014-2019. Bryant’s women’s lacrosse won three NEC titles, while women’s volleyball just to win her second NEC regular season title in 2021 and won the NEC tournament title in 2018. Bryant’s women’s tennis also won an NEC title and appeared in three championship games.

Academic excellence has been a major tenant in the Bulldogs’ transition to Division I. In the latest APR report, Bryant had four athletic post-perfect scores of 1,000 and all 19 programs posted an APR well above the national average for their respective sport. Bryant’s soccer has posted an APR of 985, while women’s soccer and volleyball have posted perfect APRs each of the past 11 years.

Bryant also has some of the best facilities in the northeast. The David ’85 and Terry Beirne Stadium Complex, Conaty Indoor Sports Center, Bulldog Strength and Conditioning Center, and Conaty Park have all been built since 2012. Additionally, the Chace Sports Center has undergone extensive renovations before the 2020-21 season and construction of the state-of-the-art Convocation Center and Arena was recently announced.


For nearly 160 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. The University offers a uniquely integrated academic and student experience with nationally recognized academic programs at the intersection of business, STEM, and liberal arts. Located on a contemporary 428-acre campus in Smithfield, RI, Bryant enrolls approximately 3,800 undergraduate and graduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and consistently receives top rankings from US News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, College Factual, and Barrons. To visit


The America East Conference is a premier NCAA Division I athletic conference with a mission centered on its commitment to developing the complete student-athlete. America East provides its member schools and their athletic programs with a platform on which student-athletes can succeed both in college and in life through the promotion and nurturing of its #3Pillars: the athletic excellence, academic achievement and leadership, on and off the field.

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