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GNAC Welcomes USJ, Lesley to Men’s Tennis Conference Landscape


Lesley joins as associate member this
year, USJ launching program next year

WINTHROP, Mass. – The Great Northeast Athletic Conference is pleased to announce current and future additions to its men's tennis sponsorship, as announced by GNAC Commissioner Joe Walsh on Monday afternoon.

The University of Saint Joseph (Conn.), which became a coeducational institution a year ago, has announced the addition of a Blue Jays men's tennis program, effective next year in 2020-21.

Meanwhile, Lesley University has joined the GNAC in men's tennis effective for the current 2019-20 academic year. The Lynx are set to play each conference foe in the sport this spring.

The Blue Jays fielded varsity teams for the first time in men's cross country, men's basketball, men's soccer and men's swimming & diving last year in 2018-19. USJ will also compete in its inaugural men's lacrosse season this upcoming spring.

"We are thrilled to announce the addition of men's tennis and to provide more opportunities for student-athletes to compete," said first-year USJ Athletic Director Amanda Devitt. "Our brand new state-of-the-art courts will serve as the perfect home venue for the team."

The addition of Lesley brings the GNAC to eight sponsoring institutions in the sport: Albertus Magnus College, Colby-Sawyer College, Eastern Nazarene College (associate), Johnson & Wales University (RI), Norwich University, Regis College, and Suffolk University.

The men's tennis league size will remain at eight in 2020-21 when USJ competes in its inaugural season, as Suffolk will join the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) next academic year.

The additions further secure the GNAC's automatic qualifier status to the NCAA Division III Tournament, with the league champion earning the right to compete in NCAAs each year.

GNAC men's tennis schools will play each once during the regular season, with six schools qualifying for the playoffs. The 2020 GNAC Tournament will get underway with first-round action on April 22 and the top-two seeds earning byes into the semifinals.

The GNAC proudly witnessed associate member Ramapo College win six consecutive conference championships from 2013-18 before falling to Eastern Nazarene last spring in the GNAC Final. Prior to this year, Ramapo had played in the league's South Division, along with Albertus and fellow associate members Rutgers University-Camden and Rutgers University-Newark.

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 22 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience.