Nine break away from Commonwealth Coast

Nine New England schools announced Wednesday they are breaking away from The Commonwealth Coast Conference to form a new league, effective with the 2011-12 academic year.

Curry, Endicott, Gordon, Nichols, Roger Williams, Salve Regina, University of New England, Wentworth and Western New England, "share a focus on student-athlete success and commitment to standards for competitive play," according to a release issued by Nichols' public affairs office.

The conference has yet to be named and no by-laws have been established. 

Officials at Nichols College could not be reached as of the publication of this story. TCCC commissioner Gregg Kaye said the conference did not have a formal response at this time, but "it is something that the presidents of the other institutions are certainly discussing, and they are looking for plans for the future."

Anna Maria, Colby-Sawyer, Eastern Nazarene, New England College and Regis (Mass.) would remain members of The Commonwealth Coast Conference in 2011-12. The group would have a two-year grace period to bring its men's and women's basketball membership back up to seven schools before losing its automatic bid in those sports.