Moon Township, Pa. -Robert Morris University Director of Athletics Craig Coleman, M.D., announced today that the women's rowing program has accepted an invitation to join the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) as an associate member in 2010-11.
Women's rowing, which was added as the 17th intercollegiate athletic program at Robert Morris in 1997, has competed as an independent program since its inception.
"We are very pleased for our rowing program to have the opportunity to compete in a conference," Coleman said. "The MAAC is an excellent conference when it comes to the sport of rowing. This will give us the opportunity to be affiliated with a number of great institutions and enable us to have a chance to compete in the NCAA Championships, which is the ultimate goal of any program."
In 2009-10 under fourth-year head coach Midge McPhail, the varsity four boat for the Colonials finished fourth at the Dad Vail Championships. Next year, RMU will be switching gears and employ varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four boats.
"Our rowing program is very excited to be joining the MAAC," McPhail said. "Joining a conference has been one of my goals since I began my tenure at Robert Morris University, and I think the MAAC is the perfect fit for our program. Joining the MAAC gives our student-athletes a chance to be part of a great conference as well as compete for conference championships. I am excited to challenge our team to reach a new level and being part of the MAAC will enable us to do so."
In 13 seasons as a Division I program, RMU has won the Margaret McNiff Trophy at the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta in 2000 in the varsity four, and won the light four title at the same event in 2001.
"As the NCAA Rowing Championships heads to automatic bids for conferences in 2013, the MAAC is committed to position the sport to meet minimum sponsorship and other sport requirements," MAAC Commissioner Richard Ensor said. "Adding a quality school such as Robert Morris University to the MAAC as an associate member improves both the depth of the MAAC Rowing Championship and the overall competitive balance for the participating student-athletes. I firmly believe that as the NCAA AQ process is implemented that more institutions will consider adding the sport which is good for rowing as it increases the number of female student-athletes competing in Division I sports. The MAAC membership is open to this growth and adding associate members such as Robert Morris University, Drake University and Sacred Heart University to assist in growing the national nature of the sport as conferences prepare for 2013 NCAA AQ access."
The 2011 MAAC Rowing Championships will take place on Sunday, April 17, at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.
About the MAAC: The MAAC, headquartered in Edison, N.J., consists of 10 member institutions: Canisius College, Fairfield University, Iona College, Loyola University Maryland, Manhattan College, Marist College, Niagara University, Rider University, Saint Peter's College and Siena College. Pattison Sports Group is the league's marketing consultant. For more on the conference please visit, www.maacsports.com.
About Robert Morris University: Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is one of the leading universities in the Pittsburgh region and among the largest private institutions of higher learning in Pennsylvania. RMU provides a professionally-focused education with an emphasis on engaged learning, and it is one of the lowest cost private masters-level institution in Pennsylvania.
Approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 40 states and 32 countries are enrolled at RMU. The 230-acre main campus in Moon Township, located 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, is home to more than 1,200 resident students. RMU's Center for Adult and Continuing Education is located in the heart of the Golden Triangle, the city's metropolitan center and the nation's seventh largest concentration of Fortune 500 corporate headquarters. The 32-acre Island Sports Center on Neville Island provides state-of-the-art athletic facilities for the University and the community.
Robert Morris University built its reputation by offering strong academic programs in traditional business fields such as accounting, finance, marketing and management. To prepare students for success in a changing and competitive workforce, the university has created programs in nursing, communications, information systems, engineering, mathematics, science, education and social sciences over the past two decades. RMU emphasizes six core values: Academic Excellence; Professional Focus; Engaged Learning; Global Prospective; Individuals Matter; Changing Lives.
RMU offers 60 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate degree programs. RMU is a teaching-centered institution, featuring small classes taught by faculty members, not teaching assistants. The university employs 174 full-time and 180 part-time faculty members; 83 percent of full-time faculty hold terminal degrees. The student-faculty ratio is 16:1, and the average class size is 24. Learning resources include a library containing more than 119,000 bound volumes, more than 100 reference databases and nearly 600 journal subscriptions.
Nearly 70 clubs and organizations help students to develop leadership skills, network professionally and meet friends. Student organizations include varsity, club and intramural sports, sororities, fraternities and student government. RMU has 23 NCAA Division I athletic programs, including football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's hockey and rowing. For more information, visit www.rmu.edu.
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