Robert Morris is rejoining the Northeast Conference as a football-only member effective with the 2024 season. The return of the Colonials will help the NEC offset the recent departures of full-time members Sacred Heart and Merrimack.
Robert Morris was a member of the NEC from 1996 through 2019 but left to join the Horizon League as a full member. The football team did not stay in the NEC and ended up in the Big South beginning with the 2020 season. The Big South and Ohio Valley Conference currently have a football alliance as a result of the dwindling Big South football membership.
Robert Morris will give the NEC a bit of breathing room in terms of maintaining an automatic qualifying bid to the FCS Playoffs. Beginning in 2024, they will have Central Connecticut State, Duquesne, Long Island, Robert Morris, Saint Francis (PA), Stonehill, and Wagner. Stonehill is still in the reclassification process through the 2025 season, which gives the NEC only 6 eligible members for two seasons. The status of Sacred Heart and Merrimack in the NEC for football is still undetermined at this time but the return of Robert Morris and the exclusion of the two teams from the press release may be indicators they aren’t likely to remain as associate members.
During Robert Morris’ previous stretch in the NEC, the Colonials won or shared the NEC title 6 times including 2010 when they won the AQ bid. They lost the opening round game to North Dakota State 43-17.
Photo Credit to Robert Morris University Athletics