2023 MAAC Men's & Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships Program
MEET THE MAAC COMMISSIONER
In baseball in 2021, the MAAC received its first at-large selection to a NCAA regional in conference history when Fairfield Baseball earned the third-seed in the Austin Regional. The Stags made it all the way to the Austin Regional Final, defeating fourth-seeded Southern and second-seeded Arizona State. Fairfield began the regular season 28-0 in conference play and finished 39-5 overall.
Aprovenleader inintercollegiate sports, event management and sport law for over three decades, Richard J. Ensor was named the third Commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in August 1988. Ensor has provided leadership through a national pandemic that shuttered sports in 2020 and through resulting financial and operational challenges as intercollegiate competition
in 1999 in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is the only facility of its kind dedicated to all levels of women’s basketball.
Under Ensor’s direction, the MAAC has focused efforts to showcase its member institutions in its annual men’s and women’s basketball championship. Since 1990 with the support of the MAAC Council of Presidents and the league’s athletic administrators and coaches the MAAC has held its premier event in state of the art playing facilities such as the Times Union Center in Albany, NY, and the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY. The MAAC announced in 2018 that Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ had been selected to host the 2020-22 MAAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. The inaugural Hercules Tires MAAC Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships in the world-famous venue was cut short when the COVID-19 Pandemic caused the cancellation of March Madness and all remaining college sports for the 2019-20 academic year. In 2021 the championships resumed competition, but the teams competed before limited audiences of friends and families as teams qualified for the NCAA that were conducted in single sites for all 64 or 68 teams in COVID-19 bubbles. The 2020 cancellation also ended the hosting of its inaugural coed Esports Championships in Atlantic City in the Adrian Phillips Theater, which is part of Boardwalk Hall. The MAAC did conduct the championships the following month for the following games online: League of Legends; Overwatch; Rocket League; and, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Marist College was the overall winner of the MAAC Esports Championships presented by New Jersey Army National Guard and was named the Program of the Year. MAAC champions will receive bids in the future to the national tournaments for the games under the MAAC’s membership in the Electronic Gaming Federation (EGF). Instrumental in the expansion of MAAC sports offerings to reflect theMAAC’s commitment to Division I membership and diversity, Ensor guided efforts within the MAAC beginning in 1992 to add women’s soccer, in 1996 men’s lacrosse, and in 1997 women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s indoor track and rowing. In 1998, the MAAC added outdoor track and field and women’s golf, and in 2002-03 it added women’s water polo. Esports was added in 2020. The league currently sponsors 23 sports and is awarded automatic or play-in bids to 15 NCAA championships [baseball, softball, tennis (m&w), golf (m&w), basketball (m&w), lacrosse (m&w), rowing (w), soccer (m&w) water polo (w), and volleyball (w)]. Additionally, MAAC men’s and women’s cross country have access to the NCAA championship through a regional qualifier race. Over half the MAAC sponsored sports now
The MAAC has also been a leader in the forefront of technology, expanding the notoriety of the league into cyberspace. In 2017, the league reached a conference-wide agreement with SIDEARM Sports (extended in 2020), to design and host the MAAC web page. MAACSports.com has been a great success, providing fans with fresh content, up-to-date results, live and on-demand video, and an online merchandise store. The site was redesigned in the fall of 2021 In September 2011, the conference announced the launch of MAAC.TV, the league’s first broadband network. Eight schools (Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Monmouth, Rider, and Saint Peter’s) were part of the original network. In May 2014, the MAAC continued to grow its partnership with ESPN by announcing the launch of the MAAC Branded ESPN3 Channel. All MAAC and school produced digital contact can be viewed through this channel. In the 2017-18 academic year the MAAC entered into a new eight-year agreement with ESPN and produced a total of 325 events on the ESPN family of networks. The first MAAC events on ESPN+ were men’s & women’s lacrosse games produced by Monmouth University. The 2018 Baseball Championship was the first MAAC championship to air entirely on ESPN+. As a part of the current MAAC ESPN partnership ESPN+ will become home to hundreds of MAAC games, championships, and shows that are easily accessible to MAAC fans throughout the country. Under the ESPN agreement, 2019-20 marked the first year that all MAAC institutions will have school production facilities and by the end of 2024-25 the conference and schools will produce over 600 collegiate athletic events and shows on the ESPN family of networks. The MAAC President for the 2022-23 academic year is Rev. James J. Maher, President of Niagara University. The Vice President is Judy D. Olian, PhD, President of Quinnipiac University, Commissioner Richard J. Ensor, Esq. serves as the league’s Secretary/Treasurer, Marianne Reilly, Director of Athletics at Manhattan College, will chair the Committee on Athletic Administration, and Elizabeth Donohue, Associate Director of Athletics/SWA/Compliance at Marist College, will serve as Vice Chair.
remerged in 2021 in an environment of bubbles, testing and arenas with no fans. In a period of continuing conference realignment in intercollegiate athletics, legal and equity challenges and a pending revision of the NCAA Constitution and Bylaws, Commissioner Ensor continues to provide the MAAC with strong guidance and advocacy for its interests within the NCAA. During his tenure theMAAC has secured a stablemembership base, expanded the number of championships conducted and developed an extensive marketing program cemented with broadcast agreements with ESPN, a web paged hosted by SIDEARM Sports and secured championship venues such as Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall (Atlantic City, NJ) and Disney Sports Attractions. During a time of tumultuous realignment, health and financial challenges within NCAA Division I conferences the MAAC remains a homogenous association of private institutions of similar size and funding, which are committed to student-athlete excellence both on the playing fields and in the classroom. The MAAC’s graduation rate is yearly in the top 25% of all leagues and the MAAC regularly receives NCAA Public Recognition Awards for its member schools placing in the top 10% in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate for student-athletes. Ensor is a past member of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and past president of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA). He serves on the boards of the Sports Lawyers Association, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Philadelphia Sports Congress, and NACDA’s IAAA ADs. He has served multiple terms on the NCAA DI Council and has served as chair of the Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee on which he will remain with a recent term renewal that concludes in 2023. Since 2017, Ensor has served on the Arizona State University Sports Law and Business Program National Advisory Board. In 2020, Ensor was named a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors for a three-year term. The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame honors those who have contributed to the sport of women’s basketball. The Hall of Fame opened
Photo Courtesy of Canisius Athletics
Photo Courtesy of Saint Peter’s Athletics
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