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Date Posted: 19:36:51 08/18/06 Fri
Author: Keith
Subject: Interesting Artical from 1-AA.org

Folks...I cut and pasted this artical from "1AA.Org". Interesting stuff regarding eastern 1-AA football. In my opinion, CCSU should seriously look at moving up, but I don't know what kind of commitment from the university this would require.

Northeast Conference

Members: Full members Central Connecticut State, Monmouth, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (PA), Wagner; football-only member Albany.

Philosophy: Recently, the NEC went from a limited need-based model to a limited-scholarship model, meaning that NEC schools can now offer up to 30 scholarships on their football teams, well short of the 63 scholarship ceiling that most I-AA schools can offer. This philosophy seems to be a sort of "fourth way" for I-AA - different from non-scholarship (Pioneer, MAAC), full need-based aid (Patriot, Ivy) and full scholarship (everyone else).

What's up in 2006: The first scholarship class will hit the field in 2006, and to me it looks like we will see an immediate improvement in play in the NEC. Yet Stony Brook broke from the conference this year and will be competing as a I-AA independent, freeing them to expand to 63 scholarships and possibly down the road enter a new football conference. A careful watch will be kept on other NEC schools this year to see if anyone else is eyeing the door.

Big Question for the future: Will this new "fourth way" work in carving a new niche of I-AA football? Can a league thrive as a limited-scholarship league? The Patriot and Ivy League have carved out a niche for themselves, but they are in the pantheon of the top academic institutions in the world. Can this league work, or will more schools be following Stony Brook out the door?

Dave’s Take: “I think they are committed to going to a limited schollie route (apx. 30 per team) and will stay there for awhile.”

Matt’s take: “The NEC is at a crossroads. Stony Brook has already announced its intention to play at a full-scholarship level, and Albany is expected to follow suit. Monmouth and Central Connecticut State would also be potential candidates to move up in time. I see the NEC staying at a limited scholarship level. If the league is willing to bring in associate members, Duquesne and Marist could be potential candidates to replace any departed teams.”

My take: The scholarship experiment will be interesting, but I don’t think that it will work well enough to keep Albany in the fold – or possibly even all-sports members Central Connecticut State and Monmouth. If any current MAAC members join the NEC after a bust-up of that conference, the NEC will have another tough decision to make – do they become limited need-based once more, or will any new members be fine with limited schollies? I’m looking at this experiment with great interest, adopting a “wait-and-see” attitude.

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