Fordham to Add Athletic Scholarships in Football
June 5, 2009
Center Valley, Pa. - Fordham has notified the Patriot League that it will begin awarding athletic scholarships to its football class entering in the fall of 2010. As a result, the Patriot League Football Presidents have endorsed an agreement with Fordham wherein the Rams will continue their association with the League but will be ineligible for the Patriot League title and automatic playoff berth beginning that season, 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 League title and automatic playoff berth in the 2009 season. The Rams will be included in the League schedule through 2012, though their games against Patriot League members will not count in the League standings. Fordham will still follow the same academic and eligibility requirements as other League members.
"There is strong desire both on the part of Fordham and the Patriot League to continue our long-standing relationship," said Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell, the Chair of the Patriot League Council of Presidents. "The interim arrangement we have agreed to will allow Fordham to begin to award scholarships in football while affording the League time to address merit aid for football and broader issues related to membership expansion. This issue comes at a very difficult financial time on all of our campuses."
The Patriot League Council of Presidents will continue to discuss the competitive and financial implications of athletic merit aid for the League football membership as well as the long-term goals of the League. It is anticipated that a decision will be made no later than the end of 2010.
Fordham's eligibility for the League title and inclusion in the standings in future years will be evaluated pending the decision on athletic scholarships for all League members. Patriot League members are permitted to offer scholarships in the League's other 22 sports.
Fordham Football Scholarships FAQs
Was this a sudden decision?
No. Fordham has been discussing the possibility of football scholarships for many years. This decision is the culmination of many years of study and deliberation by the administration, and many years of conversation with the Patriot League and its football members.
What is the reason behind Fordham's decision to move from need-based to athletic scholarships in football?
Football has a rich and storied tradition at Fordham, dating back more than 125 years. While times have changed on the national landscape, football remains an important sport for our University. Fordham strives to compete at the highest level in the FCS division, and we are convinced that the provision of athletic scholarships in football is an important component in advancing this goal. We also wish to renew rivalries with past opponents, including Army and Villanova, while enhancing our schedule with other high profile opponents, such as Navy and the University of Connecticut.
How are the new scholarships different from the financial awards that have been given to football student-athletes in the past?
The current financial awards are based on financial need. The new football scholarships will be based on athletic ability. However, academic achievement and financial need will continue to remain top priorities in the recruitment of our student-athletes.
Does this decision involve new or additional funding?
No. Existing funds that are presently allocated to the football program for need-based athletic scholarships will be reallocated for the athletic scholarships. No additional monies will be used to fund the scholarships. In essence, this decision involves a strategic reinvestment of existing funding.
When will Fordham start awarding football scholarship?
With the freshman class that will enter Fordham in the fall of 2010.
Will these scholarships affect the type of student recruited to Fordham to play football?
No. Fordham still will continue to recruit outstanding students who are also talented athletes.
How will football scholarships affect recruiting efforts at Fordham?
Football scholarships will greatly enhance recruiting efforts, allowing Fordham to recruit outstanding, high ability student-athletes that will allow the Rams to compete at the highest level of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.
Will Fordham still play a Patriot League schedule?
Yes. Fordham will continue to play all of the Patriot League schools that sponsor football (Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Georgetown, Lafayette and Lehigh) each year.
Will Fordham remain an associate member of the Patriot League for football?
Yes. After a lengthy collaborative process, Fordham and the Patriot League have reached an agreement that was endorsed by the Patriot League Council of Presidents. As part of this agreement, Fordham will continue to be an associate member of the Patriot League in football. However, for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons, the Rams will not be eligible for the Patriot League title or the League's automatic bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs. All games played by Fordham against other Patriot League institutions will not count in the league standings. Fordham student-athletes will not be eligible for regular season or end-of-year league awards and student-athletes will not be included in cumulative league statistics and records during this same three-year period.
Will Fordham be eligible for an at-large berth for the NCAA FCS Playoffs?
Yes. Fordham will remain eligible to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs. The Rams appeared in the playoffs twice over the past seven years (2002 and 2007), both times when Fordham won the Patriot League title. However, the League has a history of sending more than one team to the NCAA FCS Playoffs, having done so four times since 1998, the last in 2005 when Colgate won the League championship and Lafayette received an at-large bid.
The NCAA is increasing the number of playoff teams from 16 to 20 in 2010 (ten automatic and ten at-large bids).
How will having football scholarships affect non-conference scheduling?
Having scholarships will enhance football scheduling at Fordham University. The program will be supported with 60 athletic scholarships, making the Rams eligible to play NCAA FBS schools. It has already affected scheduling as the Rams have games planned with Connecticut, Army, Navy and Villanova for the coming seasons.
Has this type of reallocation of funds been done before at Fordham?
Yes, with success. Fordham reallocated funds for other programs, including men's and women's soccer, and women's swimming, with excellent results. Both the men's and women's soccer programs have qualified for the Atlantic 10 Championship the past two years while women's swimming finished second at the 2009 Atlantic 10 Championship, its best finish ever.
Will these scholarships affect Fordham's Title IX status?
No. Since existing funds that are already included in Fordham's reporting are being reallocated and no new funds are being designated for football scholarships, the scholarships will not impact Fordham's Title IX status.
What are the NCAA FCS scholarship regulations?
Members of the NCAA FCS are allowed to give up to 63 full scholarships with up to 30 incoming players allowed to receive aid each year. The 63 grants can be divided up in any way, but no more than 85 players can be put on scholarship.