Mercyhurst University Accepts Invite To Join The Northeast Conference

Mercyhurst accepts invite to join the NEC
Mercyhurst accepts invite to join the NEC / Northeast Conference Media (NEC)

Mercyhurst University has accepted a full membership invitation from the Northeast Conference (NEC), effective July 1, 2024.

The university will receive full member status in 2028-29 after completing its four-year NCAA Division I reclassification period. Mercyhurst is located in Erie, Pennsylvania, and was a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) at the Division II level.

“Today, on behalf of the NEC Council of Presidents, we are delighted to extend a heartfelt welcome to Mercyhurst University as the newest member of the NEC,” NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris said. “Mercyhurst’s commitment to bringing out the best in their student-athletes, both on the field and in the classroom, alongside their focus on community engagement, deeply resonated with our mission and values.

"We appreciate President Kathleen Getz and Athletic Director Joe Spano for their exceptional leadership throughout this process. Their forward-thinking vision and meticulous planning have positioned the Lakers for a seamless and successful transition to Division I and the NEC. We’re eager to kick off this partnership, which promises to uplift the conference and invigorate both the vibrant campus life at Mercyhurst and the surrounding Erie community.”

Mercyhurst will be integrated into NEC athletic schedules beginning with the 2024-25 season. The program will be immediately eligible to participate in NEC championships in NCAA non-qualifier sports. Beginning in 2026-27, all programs will be eligibile to compete in NEC postseason, but will not be eligible for NCAA postseason competition until 2028-29.

“Today marks a watershed moment for Mercyhurst University, amplifying our commitment to excellence in all that we do,” said President Getz. “In making this transition to the Northeast Conference, we believe our Mercyhurst community, our alumni, and devoted fans will benefit from a new era of spirited competition and connectedness, forging an enduring legacy for future generations of Lakers. Further, we are truly grateful for the gracious welcome extended to us by Commissioner Noreen Morris and the NEC Council of Presidents, whose values and mission are strategically aligned with our own.”

The Lakers are 8-25 over the past three seasons, including back-to-back 2-9 seasons under head coach Ryan Riemedio. The program won its first PSAC championship in 2010 as the Lakers finished the season 10-3 after a run to the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs.

“For years, our athletic programs have showcased exceptional talent and dedication, both athletically and academically, at the NCAA Division II level,” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Joe Spano. “In looking to the future, we see the immense potential for growth and achievement that comes with competing at the highest level of collegiate athletics, and we are excited to offer this opportunity to our student-athletes. I would like to thank the NEC for this opportunity. It is truly an honor to be associated with such outstanding institutions.”

Zach McKinnell


Zach McKinnell is the Founder and Senior Editor of FCS Football Central. He is also a columnist for HERO Sports and a contributor for Athlon Sports. In 2022, he became an official voter in the FCS Stats Perform Top-25. He is a former contributor for Vols Wire, part of the USA TODAY Sports Network, and Fly War Eagle on FanSided. Zach graduated from Auburn University in 2018.