If you read this title and said: “Alex, who is Stony Brook?”, let me bring you up to speed.
Stony Brook is a school of just over 16,000 undergrad students located in Stony Brook, NY, which is on Long Island about an hour and a half outside of the city.
The school isn’t well known but I think they are a better fit than most of the names people have been throwing around to replace UConn in the American Athletic Conference.
They are one of very few candidates that could replace UConn in every sport, not just football.
Schools like Appalachian State, Army, and Troy would join the conference as a good-at-football-only member. The Seawolves aren’t only good at football, they can hold their weight in every single sport the AAC offers.
Here are their teams’ records over the last season in sports the AAC sponsors:
Men’s Basketball: 24-9
Women’s Basketball: 23-8
Women’s Lacrosse: 16-5
Men’s Soccer: 9-6-3
Women’s Soccer: 11-7-1
Women’s Tennis: 16-4
Women’s Volleyball: 21-9
I know football being 7-5 last season isn’t outstanding but they are 56-39 since 2011 and have made the playoffs four times while jumping to one of the best conferences in the FCS, the Colonial Athletic Association.
Meanwhile, the men’s basketball team has a 174-90 record since 2011 while playing in the American East.
I get it, the American East to the AAC is a drastic jump and there is no doubt that Stony Brook could have a rough first couple years adjusting to the level of play.
But they could be like an App State, whose football team has gone 48-16 since joining the FBS in 2014 after going 4-8 in their last season of FCS play.
Their APR scores stack up too, since conferences care about aacdemics as well. After some struggles 15 years ago or so, baseball (968) is the only sport with an APR below 978. They even had seven of their teams post perfect scores. That statement holds true solidly over the past decade, as well.
“Now, what about facilities, Alex”, is probably your next question.
Their football stadium, Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium currently holds 12,300 people, while the smallest stadium in the AAC currently has a capacity of 30,000. That is a major problem, to say the least, FBS compliance is a (loosely enforced) 15k and while there is currently no plan in place to get capacity there, the design suggests that expandability is realistic and reasonable, even if it can’t get all the way to 30,000.
Their basketball home, Island Federal Credit Union Arena, holds 4,160 people, which isn’t great but it is bigger than Tulane’s current home (3,600). This is another area of likely need, as Tulane and Stony Brook’s combined capacity would still be nearly last in the conference.
While Stony Brook is far from being a household name with a ton of fan support, I think jumping up could generate a bunch of excitement around the school and around Long Island.
Some might say they’re a SUNY, and no one cares about Buffalo so why would anyone care about them? Buffalo is way upstate, while Stony Brook is in a prime location to give New York City a college football team to support. If they can figure out the football stadium they might be the ideal candidate.
I talked with the team over at Brookland (@SBUSports), a website that covers Stony Brook athletics, who said that it would make more sense for the AAC to take James Madison and have Stony Brook move to the CAA for all sports.
If they did that, they could build their stadium and work on going FBS from there. However, we both agree that if the stadium can expand to be FBS compliant the Seawolves would make a great fit for the AAC and have the potential to grow into an AAC powerhouse in all sports.