Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass makes move to MAC official

University will join the conference as full member in July 2025
Caroline O’Connor
Daily Collegian

Three days after news broke that the Mid-American Conference voted to add the University of Massachusetts in all sports, UMass made the new era official. The UMass Athletics Committee and the Board of Trustees held meetings on Thursday, accepting the invitation. Massachusetts will join the MAC beginning on July 1, 2025.

“As one of the nation’s leading public research universities, with a rich tradition of intercollegiate athletics, UMass Amherst is well suited to join the similarly situated institutions of the Mid-American Conference,” Chancellor Javier A. Reyes said. “We are aligned with the MAC in our institutional missions, our values, and the profound impact we have on our respective communities. We join the MAC with great enthusiasm knowing that this affiliation through athletics will elevate and extend the profile and exposure of both UMass Amherst and all members of the MAC’s member institutions significantly.”

The only UMass sports that won’t play in the MAC are hockey, which will remain in Hockey East; men’s soccer, which doesn’t have a conference for the time being as the MAC stopped sponsoring it following the 2022 season; men’s lacrosse and women’s rowing. According to a press release, more information will become available in the coming months regarding those sports’ conference membership plans. All Massachusetts sports competing in the Atlantic 10 will stay in the A-10 through the 2024-2025 academic year, maintaining eligibility for conference championships and NCAA postseason play.

UMass football, a member of the MAC from 2012-15, will remain independent until the 2025 season. Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford said previously that ever since the Minutemen left the MAC to go independent, finding a conference home for the football program has been a priority for the department.

“Our entire athletics program will benefit greatly by aligning and partnering with the Mid-American conference and its member institutions,” Bamford said. “As we consider our future in a very challenging and choppy college athletics landscape, having conference peers with similar institutional profiles, aspirations and commitments toward athletics excellence will provide stability and strength. Furthermore, our transition to the MAC will provide additional resources allowing our department to evolve and grow in a manner that will support student academic success and competitive excellence.”

Massachusetts had contacted the MAC in the past about a possible move which didn’t materialize. In fact, it had contacted all Group of 5 commissioners. Joining a conference as a football-only member was no longer an option. Now, UMass reunites with the MAC as a full member, becoming the 13th institution in the conference.

“Today marks a historic moment for the Mid-American Conference as we proudly welcome the University of Massachusetts into our family,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. “Adding UMass is an exciting next step as we increase the strength of our collective programs. We are thrilled to welcome their student-athletes, coaches, administrators, alumni and fans to the Conference. The opportunity to add a state flagship institution with exceptional academics and a storied athletics tradition does not come along often. I look forward to our collaborative efforts in providing outstanding opportunities for student-athletes to maximize their intellectual and athletic pursuits.”

Another important aspect to the move was the fact that Massachusetts did not align with the rest of A-10 schools as an institution. UMass wasn’t a natural fit for the A-10 as a large, public, state, research university, and it was the only A-10 school with an FBS football program. The MAC is fully comprised of public research institutions.

“The addition of UMass expands our geographic footprint into the Northeast, which is a very attractive market, and it will strengthen our league for many years to come,” Geoffrey S. Mearns, President of Ball State University said. “With an outstanding academic reputation and an excellent record of athletic success, UMass aligns fully with the MAC’s mission and our core values.”

UMass will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 7 at the Football Performance Center. UMass fans, get ready for MACtion.

Pedro Gray Soares can be reached at [email protected] and followed on X @P_GraySoares.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • E

    Ed Cutting, Ed. D.Mar 1, 2024 at 11:50 am

    This is asinine — the ONLY reason they are doing it is to enhance recruitment of out-of-state students, which is more money for UMass but they aren’t going to hire any more professors or build any more parking spaces or do any of the things that make UMass less crowded.
    No, it’s all about the money and don’t think for an instant that your tuition dollars aren’t subsidizing this. What the SGA really needs to do is insist on an absolute cap on the size of the entering class — in 2001 it was 4,302 — this year it was 5,259 — that’s almost a fifth bigger and UMass itself isn’t a fifth bigger.
    No, it’s just more crowded and students wait in even longer lines and it’s time for the SGA to say NO MAS!