St. John’s Football To Stay In NEC Three More Seasons
St. John’s football has found a home for at least three more seasons in the Northeast Conference. After spending 1993-1998 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and spending 1999 as an independent, the Red Storm agreed to join the Northeast Conference for 2000. Initially it signed a one-year commitment for 2000 with SJU retaining the option to renew its deal with the NEC for three years by Dec. 1.
NEC Commissioner John Iamarino announced that the Red Storm had agreed to renew its commitment as an associate member in football. “The addition of St. John’s helps us in of ways in terms of scheduling, exposure in the New York market and recruiting for our schools that make trips to New York,” said Iamarino in a press release.
In their first season as an associate member of the conference, SJU finished with with a 5-6 record and ranked second in all of Division I-AA in total defense.
Despite the losing season, Head Coach Bob Ricca is in favor of the NEC. “We were very impressed with the competitive level of the conference from top to bottom,” Ricca said. “Each school has made a strong commitment to play competitive football and we are proud to be a part of that structure,”.
By adding SJU, the football conference reached nine schools. Central Connecticut, Monmouth, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (PA) and Wagner are full-time NEC members that sponsor football. They are joined by Albany and Stony Brook who joined in 1999 as associate members.
The NEC has sponsored football since 1996. In October 1999 member schools voted to allow financial aid to be awarded on athletic ability for a limited number of football players.