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Providence used to be a comp. Not anymore and not just because of Leaman. Have you been on that campus lately? It's at a whole new level in all aspects of a University that will attract kids from anywhere. Also PC basketball evelvates the school much more than hockey which Merrimack has no answer for.
Merrimack is the toughest D1 school in the Northeast to recruit to without comparison. Not only are the facilities terrible, but there is no campus. Even places like Union, UMASS Amherst, Maine and UNH have great campuses with traditional college party scenes. Merrimack has Fudrcukers and Bertuccis.
It's a great school for rich dumb kids though.