America East Bans Stony Brook from Conference Tournaments
On Wednesday, the American East Conference that the school will be ineligible for conference postseason tournaments according to the conference’s bylaws. In the bylaws, it states a member institution’s intention to withdraw from the conference makes that school’s sports teams ineligible to compete in the league’s postseason play, “on a date to be determined by the remaining members of the Board of Presidents.”The rule has been in effect since 2005 was previously exercised during the 2012-13 season when Boston University left for the Patriot League. Last week when the conference presidents met, they unanimously agreed to hold Stony Brook to the same standard.
“This decision was not made lightly, and the Board 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 league’s advancement and the student-athletes who compete at those institutions, now and in the future.”
The Stony Brook women’s basketball team is currently sitting in first place in the conference and has nonconference wins over St. John’s and Rutgers. The men’s program is in second behind Vermont. Both teams, as well as other Stony Brook sports, would still be allowed to earn at-large bids to an NCAA tournament.
“Following our announcement that we will move to the Colonial Athletic Association, we were extremely disappointed to be informed by the America East that Stony Brook student-athletes would not be allowed to compete for conference championships and therefore the opportunity to earn NCAA team automatic qualification,” Stony Brook athletics director Shawn Heilbron said.
“This decision does nothing to advance the interests of the conference, but instead punishes Stony Brook University’s talented student-athletes and runs contrary to the decision that the Board of Presidents made last spring when the University of Hartford announced they were leaving the conference. As a result, Stony Brook plans to review all options, legal and otherwise, to address this decision.”