SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Board of Directors has announced that Becker College will be joining the CCC as an associate member in the sport of football for the 2017 season. In the fall of 2017, the CCC will begin to oversee football as a championship sport and will assume operation of a renamed New England Football Conference (NEFC).
Currently, five CCC full members – Curry College, Endicott College, Nichols College, Salve Regina University and Western New England University – sponsor football as a varsity sport and compete in the NEFC. The addition of Becker as an associate member will raise the number of programs expected to compete for the inaugural CCC Football Championship in 2017 – and the right to earn automatic qualification to the NCAA Division III Football Championship – to six institutions.
These six institutions will welcome University of New England (UNE), a full CCC member, as the Conference’s seventh football program when UNE begins playing a full varsity schedule in 2018, following one season of sub-varsity competition in 2017.
“This is an exciting time for the Commonwealth Coast Conference and our member institutions, as the CCC brand is expanding with the addition of men’s ice hockey in 2016 and the operation of a football conference in 2017,” stated CCC Commissioner Gregg M. Kaye. “Becker College subscribes to the CCC’s core belief that intercollegiate athletics plays a vitally important role in the undergraduate experience. In addition to our recent addition of Becker as an associate member in men’s ice hockey, I am delighted equally to welcome Becker to the CCC as an associate member in football.”
As the renamed NEFC, CCC Football will enter a two-year grace period (2017-18 and 2018-19) to restore its membership to the NCAA-required level of seven institutions. The addition of Becker as associate member in 2017 and UNE’s inaugural varsity season in 2018 will satisfy this requirement.
“Becker College is truly thrilled to be joining the Commonwealth Coast Conference in football,” stated Frank Millerick, Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics at Becker College. “The CCC continues to make moves that strengthen its brand and identity and Becker is excited to be a part of this prominent conference. We look forward to competing in the CCC starting with the 2017 season.”
The five current CCC football-playing institutions have combined to make 10 NCAA Division III football postseason appearances. Curry tops all CCC football programs with six NCAA tournament appearances (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). Endicott has advanced to NCAA championship play twice (2010, 2013), while recently-crowned NEFC champion Western New England is currently preparing for its second NCAA postseason berth in five seasons (2011).
In 2015, Becker compiled a 7-3 overall record which was the program’s best record in 11 seasons of NCAA Division III competition.
“Competing in the Commonwealth Coast Conference is a challenge our program is excited about,” added Becker Head Football Coach Mike Lichten. “Every week we will be tested by the best private schools in New England as every program plays the game with integrity and passion. We aim to make the conference proud to have us as a member both on and off the field.”