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(NECN) - UMass Lowell's athletic teams are moving up in rank - announcing the school will move up to Division I, joining the elite America East Conference.
Marty Meehan, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, joined "The Morning Show" where he made the big announcement.
"UMass Lowell, whose 75,000 graduates earn among the top mid-career and starting salaries in New England, according to PayScale.com -- has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation and President Obama's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for community and campus engagement. The academic accomplishments, as well as progress in other areas over the last five years, propelled UMASS Lowell to be considered for membership in America East.
"With the exception of the Division One men's ice hockey team, UMass Lowell has been a member of NCAA Division Two since 1980 and a member of the Northeast 10 Conference since 2000. Since 2000, the River Hawks have achieved 104 NCAA post-season appearances, won two team national championships, had three individual national championships and a pair of national players of the year, won 59 conference championships, had 214 All-Americans and 32 Academic All-Americans.
"UMass Lowell will join America East on July 1, and will unite with other four-year research universities of similar size and mission. All the eight public institutions in the conference, including ours, are ranked among the top-100 public universities in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Those include the universities of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, already our fellow members of Division I Hockey East.
"UMass Lowell will begin competing in 14 sports in Division One in the 2013-14 academic year, but will not be eligible for postseason play while it completes the four-year NCAA reclassification from Division Two to Division One. The River Hawks will be full Division One members of America East in 2017-18. UMass Lowell Hockey - currently ranked 14th in the country - will continue to compete in the prestigious Hockey East conference."