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Date Posted: 11:01:24 11/17/05 Thu
Author: J.J.
Subject: NEC could be playing in a postseason bowl game
In reply to: CCSU Football 's message, "CCSU Football Co Champs" on 13:50:55 11/14/05 Mon

Very good that the NEC is being agressive regarding postseason football opportunities. Also, looks like the NEC may consider 30 scholarships, instead of need-based grant in aid.

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/17/05

The Northeast Conference, of which Monmouth University is a member, is moving toward participating in a football postseason bowl game even if it's an in-league contest.

"The football presidents from the NEC met about a month ago at Mount St. Mary's and we discussed, again, having an internal postseason game, number one vs. number two," said Monmouth president Paul Gaffney II, chairman of the NEC's membership committee.

"We've all decided, at least on a straw vote, that we would do this. It goes to all the football playing presidents in a conversation before Thanksgiving."

Six full-time NEC schools as well as America East members Stony Brook and Albany play under the NEC football umbrella.

Gaffney said the NEC Bowl could be held as soon as the 2006 season. Were the game to be held this year, it would have matched co-champions Stony Brook and Central Connecticut State, one week after Stony Brook tied CCSU for the regular-season title via its 23-21 victory over the Blue Devils Saturday.

The game presumably would be played at the home field of the regular-season champion or, in the event of a tie, at the field of the team that prevailed in a head-to-head contest.

The NEC and MAAC champions had been meeting in the ECAC Bowl for a number of years, a game that the MAAC withdrew from following the 2003 season in which Monmouth played Duquesne.

There has been some discussion since then of a NEC championship game but until now little had materialized.

"It's (an NEC internal game) not the end goal that we want because we want to make progress toward getting an automatic bid to the NCAA 1-AA Tournament," Gaffney said.

But with the NCAA having rejected the NEC's umpteenth request for an automatic bid to its postseason and, with no acceptance in sight, the league is focusing on other postseason avenues.

Gaffney said along with the internal game, the NEC is planning on approaching the nine-member Pioneer League of non- or limited-scholarship playing football teams about having a bowl game matching the two NEC and Pioneer League champions.

The Pioneer League conducts an annual postseason game between the regular-season champions of its two divisions with South champion Morehead State visiting North champion San Diego in Saturday's title game.

"We'll approach the Pioneer League in January and we'll keep in touch with them," said Gaffney.

Also in the works is a restructuring of the NEC's financial football aid policy in which need-based aid would be scrapped in favor of up to 30 full scholarships which could be spread throughout the teams at the coaches' discretion.

"We want to try to slowly rachet up our quality of play and competitiveness with other leagues, and do it within affordability," Gaffney said.

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[> [> CCSU to change scholarship rules -- J.J., 11:02:06 11/21/05 Mon

NEC agrees to 30 football scholarships; CCSU looks to be on board.

By MATT STRAUB , Assistant Sports Editor

NEW BRITAIN -- For the last couple of years, Central Connecticut has been looking to improve its football program. That mission has been accomplished, with the Blue Devils winning shares of the last two Northeast Conference championships. Coach Tom Masella has often said, however, that he’d like to do more. He wants the program’s reputation to grow even stronger.

Thanks to a ruling this week, that mission now has a better chance of being accomplished.

The Northeast Conference has agreed to remove the financial-need component to athletic scholarships awarded to football players. The change, which takes affect next season should allow teams like Central Connecticut to better recruit players who in the past have gone to full-scholarship I-AA schools like those in the A-10.

"I think the goal is to increase the stature of our league," CCSU athletic director C.J. Jones said. "This has been talked about for a long time, especially in terms of trying to get an automatic bid into the (I-AA) NCAA playoffs. We’re hoping this eventually helps us down the line in that regard, but it helps certainly to raise the level of the Northeast Conference."

In the past the league has permitted member schools to provide 30 need-based scholarships for football, or the equivalent thereof. Under the new setup, the Blue Devils and the other NEC football conference member institutions would have the same number of scholarships, but would be free to give them to a player regardless of the potential student-athlete’s financial situation. The move could go a long way toward opening new doors on the recruiting trail.

The 30 scholarships would be a maximum number, but schools would not be required to reach that number. There were no minimums put in place by the NEC, and the league’s institutions have been told to move toward the maximum number at whatever pace they feel appropriate.

One of the main decisions schools would have to make would be deciding whether to offer full scholarships to fewer players or to offer partial scholarships to more players to try and better the depth of the program.

"I think a lot of the details in terms of implementing the plan are still being worked on," Jones said.

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