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Bryant accepts invitation to join the America East Conference

Bryant accepts invitation to join the America East Conference


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

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


Bryant Contact: Tristan Hobbes – Assistant Athletic Director for Communications


SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University has accepted an invitation to join the America East Conference in all sports the league sponsors, effective July 1, 2022. Bryant will also accept an invitation to become an associate member of the Big South Conference for football.

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

"We are thrilled that Bryant University will join America East as a full member institution starting next academic year," said America East Commissioner, Brad Walker. "Bryant's reputation as an academic institution combined with its athletics success will help strengthen our conference in all facets." 

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

"There is tremendous momentum in the Bryant community right now," said Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D. "In addition to our top 1% recognition for student outcomes and ROI, 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 country and will allow us to further build our presence from the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast."

"I want to thank Commissioner Walker and the Board of Directors in the America East for giving this incredible opportunity to the student-athletes, coaches and staff at Bryant University," Director of Athletics Bill Smith said. "The America East consists of Universities and programs that excel nationally on both the field of play 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 making the jump to Division I in 2008-09. In that time, Bryant has secured two NEC commissioner's cups, seven-straight men's commissioner's cups, 22 regular-season championships, 31 tournament championships, 30 NCAA Tournament appearances and has produced 37 All-Americans.

"I want to thank Commissioner Morris and all of our friends in the Northeast Conference for an incredible 14 years and providing Bryant's student-athletes an outstanding experience," Smith said.

Bryant's men's basketball program enjoyed a historic season this winter, winning NEC Regular-Season and Tournament titles for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs went 14-1 at home and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in DI program history, competing against 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 last nine NEC Regular-Season titles, the women's swimming and diving program has won five-straight championships, men's swimming and diving has won two-straight titles and men's tennis won a league-record six-straight titles from 2014-2019. Bryant women's lacrosse has won three NEC titles, while women's volleyball is coming off its second NEC Regular-Season title in 2021 and claimed the NEC Tournament title in 2018. Bryant women's tennis also claimed an NEC title and has appeared in three championship matches. 

Academic excellence has been a major tenant of the Bulldogs' transition to Division I. In the most recent APR report, Bryant had four sports post perfect scores of 1000 and all 19 programs posted an APR well above the national average for their respective sport. Bryant football posted an APR of 985, while women's soccer and volleyball have posted perfect APRs each of the last 11 years.

Bryant also has some of the best facilities in the Northeast. The David '85 and Terry Beirne Stadium Complex, the Conaty Indoor Athletic Center, the Bulldog Strength and Conditioning Center and Conaty Park have all been built since 2012. In addition, the Chace Athletic Center underwent major renovations prior to the 2020-21 season and the 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 delivers a uniquely integrated academic and student life experience with nationally recognized academic programs at the intersection of business, STEM and the liberal arts. Located on a 428-acre contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., 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 regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, College Factual, and Barron'sVisit


The America East Conference is a premier NCAA Division I athletic conference whose mission centers around its commitment to building the complete student-athlete. America East provides its member schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student-athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of its #3Pillars: athletic excellence, academic achievement and leadership, on and off the field.