|Region||Northeastern United States|
The Yankee Conference was a collegiate sports conference in the eastern United States. It once sponsored competition in many sports, but eventually became a football-only league. Although not under the same charter, it is essentially an ancestor of today's Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) football conference.
The Yankee Conference essentially was formed in 1938 as the New England Conference. The NCAA however considers the Yankee Conference and New England Conference to be two separate conferences, as they were formed under different charters.
In 1945, Northeastern University, the only private school in the New England Conference, announced its departure. This led the remaining four members, all land-grant colleges and universities in New England, to form a committee to explore the formation of a new conference. The committee recommended that the four current members join with two New England land-grant institutions, the University of Massachusetts and the University of Vermont. This led to the formation of the Yankee Conference in December 1946, with athletic competition beginning in the 1947–48 school year.
- University of Connecticut
- University of Maine
- University of Massachusetts Amherst (then Massachusetts State College)
- University of New Hampshire
- University of Rhode Island (then Rhode Island State College)
- University of Vermont
In 1971, the College of the Holy Cross joined the conference in football for only a year, and in 1974, Vermont dropped its football program. In 1975 the conference allowed its members to choose conference participation on a sport-by-sport basis. Later in the year, it opted to end sponsorship of all sports except football. Starting in the 1980s, a number of schools from outside New England joined the conference.
It existed until 1997, when NCAA legislation limiting the influence of single-sport conferences over policy became effective. Facing extinction, the conference merged with the Atlantic 10 Conference (A-10) on November 13, 1996. After membership changes in the Colonial Athletic Association over the following 10 years, management of the A-10 football conference passed to the CAA in 2007.
Modern club football conference
The phrase "Yankee Conference" is alluded to in the modern Yankee Collegiate Football Conference, which fields teams at the club football level. Three of the schools in the original Yankee Conference, Boston University, Maine and Vermont, field teams in the modern Yankee Conference; neither Boston nor Vermont has a varsity team, and thus the club football team is the highest ranking football team representing the school in both cases. (The other two schools in the modern Yankee Conference are Clarkson University and Onondaga Community College; the conference also allows an independent team, the Southwestern Connecticut Grizzlies, to play in the league and contest for the championship even though it is not associated with any college or university.)
The Yankee Conference was the first college football conference to implement college football's current overtime rules. The overtime rules known as the "Kansas Playoff" or "Kansas Plan" where each team is given a possession at the 25 yard line was used by the Yankee Conference to determine the end to tie games well before it was adopted by the rest of the NCAA in 1996.
- "N.E. Conference Formed Among Six Colleges". The Berkshire Eagle. Stockbridge, Massachusetts. AP. December 18, 1946. p. 20. Retrieved December 1, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
- "YanCon Schools Gets Free Rein". Bangor Daily News. July 31, 1975. p. 24. Archived from the original on December 23, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
- "Results Plus," The Associated Press, Thursday, November 14, 1996. Retrieved December 30, 2017