UMFK adds new sports and joins NAIA

By  | 

Fort Kent, Me (WAGM) - The University of Maine Fort Kent will have a new athletic affiliation beginning in the fall. UMFK will now be affiliated with two national associations. The Bengals will continue to be members of the USCAA and are also returning to the NAIA.

The Bengals will also start play in a new Conference this year. The Northeastern Intercollegiate Athletics Conference is also affiliated with both National groups.
Most of the Northeast schools left the NAIA earlier this decade, but the Association has made a push to bring several of the schools back into the NAIA.

Ashby:' Now there is us, Villa Maria out of Buffalo, SUNY Delhi and the College of St Joseph's out of Vermont. We are getting more NAIA schools to come back in . NAIA is making a big push in New England to regain that market and we are a big part of it."

If there are six teams in any sport the winner of the conference would get an automatic bid into one of national tournaments.

The Bengals have been very successful in the USCAA with the women winning four straight National Championships and the men winning the last two titles. Ashby is also excited that the University will be adding some new sports

Ashby:'We will start with men's tennis next spring and track and field the year after. We are looking forward to that and the NAIA gives us a great platform to launch that."

Tom Bird will coach the tennis team at the University. He is working hard at getting a schedule and recruiting players for the squad.

Ashby:"The schedule is the easy part and he is recruiting hard right now to get 12 tennis players for us before next January."

The track team will become a full fledged varsity sport in 2019. They are working as a club team now

Ashby;" It is a club sport. We will go to one meet this spring the USCAA National Championship at SUNY Delhi. We will recruit for a year and the year after that it should be a full men's and women's varsity sport for us."