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Merrimack and Sacred Heart have joined the MAAC. What happens next?

Here's what i'm hearing so far about potential reshuffling in the East

Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.

Earlier this week, the never-ending cycle of conference realignment continued, as Merrimack and Sacred Heart announced they were departing the NEC for the MAAC. The news was first reported by Jon Rothstein.

The additions grow MAAC membership to 13 institutions for the 2024-2025 season and should bolster what is already a very capable mid-major basketball league. Sacred Heart is the highest-rated preseason KenPom program in the NEC this year, and Merrimack won two regular season NEC titles over the last four years. Now that their D-I reclassification process has been completed, the Warriors can now compete for NCAA postseason opportunities.

But both Sacred Heart and Merrimack have FCS football teams, and the MAAC doesn’t sponsor football. What happens to those two football programs? Where does the NEC go from there? And how do these moves potentially impact other potential realignment discussions on the East Coast?

I spent the last few days asking around, and here’s what I’m hearing.

What happens to Merrimack and Sacred Heart football?

It’s unusual, but not unprecedented for mid-major schools to announce conference realignment changes before a football home is completely finalized. Murray State, for example, announced a move to the Missouri Valley Conference before Racer football had formally secured membership in the MVFC.

Both schools have a couple of potential options…and don’t be surprised if they don’t end up in the same conference.

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