Move to new conference benefits Mount St. Mary's off the field

Some observers might think that Mount St. Mary’s decision to leave the friendly confines of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for the newly-formed Northeast Conference was a risky move.

But by joining Bryant, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Wagner, the Mountaineers earned increased funding for the program.

Coach Tom Gravante said until last year, he had four full scholarships with which to divide and offer to recruits. Now, he has nine scholarships and, for the first time, a full-time assistant coach in Travis Johnson.

Gravante said the additional scholarships allow him to compete with larger Division I competitors for recruits.

“Up until last year, I had four full scholarships. So I couldn’t offer the packages that some of these other guys could offer,” Gravante said, adding that he is communicating with high school juniors for the first time. “…That, coupled with the opportunity of being able to get into the game faster by offering the kids more enticing packages, you can play faster in the recruiting game. … It just picks up the recruiting pace for us and puts us in the game with a lot of the other schools. That is what’s going to keep us strong.”

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