Stony Brook won’t be allowed to compete in America East championships

UAlbany defends Stony Brook in the America East championship game at University at Albany's SEFCU Arena on Saturday, March 14, 2015.

UAlbany defends Stony Brook in the America East championship game at University at Albany's SEFCU Arena on Saturday, March 14, 2015.

Stony Brook’s teams will not be allowed to compete in America East Conference championships the rest of the 2021-22 academic year, the league announced Wednesday.

That announcement follows last week’s development that Stony Brook will leave the conference later this year to join the CAA.

Both Stony Brook basketball teams were picked first in the league’s preseason polls. The Stony Brook women’s team — the conference’s reigning champion — is currently in first place and the school’s men’s team is in second place.

The UAlbany women’s basketball team is second in the conference standings behind Stony Brook, while the UAlbany men are tied for fourth place.

The league’s statement on the matter, in full, is below:

“The America East Conference Board of Presidents has determined that in accordance with longstanding conference legislation, Stony Brook University is ineligible to participate in all America East Championships for the remainder of its tenure as a conference member, effective immediately. At the request of Stony Brook, the Board of Presidents reconsidered this matter late last week but unanimously reaffirmed their decision to uphold Conference Constitution Article 3.4 (b), which states that upon notice of an institution’s intention to withdraw from America East, the institution’s teams become ineligible, on a date to be determined by the remaining members of the Board of Presidents, to compete for Conference championships. Article 3.4 (b) was enacted in 2005, at which time Stony Brook was a conference member and supported the decision. It was enforced during the 2012-13 academic year when Boston University withdrew from the conference, the only other instance a member institution has departed for another Division I conference since the article was enacted. Stony Brook was aware of Article 3.4 (b) as it made its decision to announce its withdrawal, and such a provision is not unique to America East. Several other Division I conferences have similar provisions, including one that was recently upheld with a departing member. This decision was not made lightly, and the Board of Presidents recognizes that some may disagree with it. 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.”

Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron also released a statement, which references the conference’s decision to allow Hartford — which is leaving the America East to move to the Division III ranks after the 2021-22 athletic seasons — to compete in this year’s championship events.

“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,” 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.”

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