The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

June 6, 2009

College football: Fordham will award football scholarships

CENTER VALLEY -- One year removed from its second Patriot League title, Fordham has made a decision which will not only eliminate it from title contention, but take it out of the running for the league's automatic playoff berth.

Fordham, an associate member of the league which participates only in football, notified the Patriot League that it will begin awarding athletic scholarships to its football players beginning after the 2009 season.

"This is a great day for Fordham football," said head coach Tom Masella. "Being able to award scholarships based on athletic ability will greatly increase the pool of student-athletes that we are able to recruit. We are pleased to be able to maintain our Patriot League schedule and at the same time, look to enhance our schedule with the addition of some FBS schools along with top FCS schools. In the end this will aid us in achieving our ultimate goal, a chance to compete for an FCS championship."

As a result, the Patriot League Football Presidents reached an agreement with Fordham that will allow the Bronx, N.Y. university to continue its association with the Patriot League, but make it ineligible for the league title and the automatic playoff berth beginning in 2010, announced Patriot League Executive Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich on Friday.

Fordham will remain as an associate member in the Patriot League, and will continue to be eligible for the title and automatic playoff berth this coming season before giving out around 60 scholarships in 2010. The Rams, who won the Patriot League title in 2002 and 2007, will be included in the conference schedule through 2012, although their games against league members will not count in the standings from 2010 to 2012.

Although they will not be eligible for the NCAA bid out of the Patriot League, the Rams can earn an at-large bid. The NCAA will expand the field from 16 to 20 bids beginning in 2010, including 10 at-large berths.

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