North Andover, MA – Merrimack College announced today the next step in its plan to sponsor new women's NCAA sports. Women's Ice Hockey will play at the NCAA division I level, with Women's Swimming joining the Division II Northeast-10 conference.
In addition, Women's Water Polo will begin building its program with plans to compete at the NCAA level. This announcement comes on the heels of the College creating three additional women's NCAA sports to its athletics roster over the past two years.
The addition of these women's sports supports ongoing efforts of the College to increase opportunities for female athletes.
"We are excited to further our athletic offerings and provide increased opportunities for female athletes to compete at the NCAA level for Merrimack and in the Northeast-10 Conference and Hockey East Association," stated Dean O'Keefe, Interim Athletic Director, Merrimack College.
At the recent Volpe Expansion Project Groundbreaking Ceremony, a project that is crucial to investing in athletic equity, President Hopey stated emphatically, "This is the moment where our values, our resources, and our energy clearly state that men's and women's athletics are equal to Merrimack College."
Merrimack's commitment to providing equal opportunity to both men's and women's sports is illustrated in a comprehensive strategic plan which was developed in part by the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights Title IX review of the Athletic Department.
The Women's Ice Hockey program will begin club play in 2013-14, with plans to compete at the NCAA Division I Level by 2016-17. Once an NCAA Division I program, Women's Ice Hockey will join the Hockey East Association. Women's Swimming will begin competing at the Division II level in the Northeast-10 Conference in 2013-14 and a club Women's Water Polo Team will be created beginning next academic year, with plans to elevate the program to the NCAA level.
The latest Merrimack College sports expansion plans include six sports added within the last two years (W. Golf, W. Crew, M. Indoor Track, M. Outdoor Track, W. Indoor Track, W. Outdoor Track). The addition of women's ice hockey, swimming and water polo will bring the total number of NCAA sponsored sports at Merrimack to 25 (15 Women, 10 Men).