Monday, October 03, 2005


CLEVELAND -- The North Coast Athletic Conference and the University Athletic Association, two NCAA Division III athletic Conferences, announced a historic football scheduling agreement today.

The two Conferences have agreed to play each other in a non-conference football scheduling agreement, which will begin in the fall of 2008 and continue through 2009. Nineteen games involving NCAC-UAA matchups are scheduled for 2008 and the home sites will flip for the same 19 matchups the following year.

The announcement was made today by Dennis Collins, Executive Director of the North Coast Athletic Conference in Cleveland, and Dick Rasmussen, Executive Secretary of the University Athletic Association in Rochester, NY, who both crafted the schedule amongst the 13 colleges and universities.

“This agreement fills a great need for the 13 football-playing colleges in both Conferences“, said Collins. “We had a need to fill three open dates annually, and the UAA, with only four members playing football, need to fill seven open dates. Beyond that, our people are very pleased to be associated with their colleagues at the prestigious UAA universities, many of whom we played over the years, independently.” (Division III colleges are allowed a maximum of 10 regular season games).

“With the increasing emphasis on conference play over the last several years as a means to automatic qualification for the NCAA championship series, the scheduling of non-conference opponents during the regular season has become more and more of a challenge,” Rasmussen, said. “This cooperative agreement helps members of both the UAA and the NCAC meet those challenges and provides our collective institutions with a consistent and dependable schedule against programs with similar standards and program philosophies.”

Thirteen members from the two conferences are involved: From the NCAC: Allegheny College (PA); Denison University (OH); Hiram College (OH); Kenyon College (OH); Oberlin College (OH); Ohio Wesleyan University; Wabash College (IN); Wittenberg University (OH); and the College of Wooster (OH); From the UAA: Carnegie Mellon University (PA); Case Western Reserve University (OH); University of Chicago (IL); and Washington University of St. Louis (MO).

Geographically, these 13 institutions range from Meadville and Pittsburgh in Western Pennsylvania to Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri. Games will be played in five states (PA, OH, IN, IL and MO) and near or in the cities of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago and St. Louis, in addition to some smaller towns.

This agreement is considered historic because collegiate conferences in football do not, as a rule, cross schedule with an organized agreement. Only one other instance comes to mind and that is the non-conference scheduling agreement amongst the Ivy Group and the Patriot League in the 1990’s, both of NCAA Division I-AA football. This was one other instance of two allied conferences with both academic and athletic program similarities, making a football scheduling arrangement.

“The scheduling agreement between the football-playing members of the University Athletic Association and the North Coast Athletic Conference is both practical and symbolic,” stated Dale Knobel, President of Denison University and the North Coast Athletic Conference.

“It helps the UAA members round out a full schedule for their teams with predictability from year to year, and it assists NCAC colleges in filling non-conference dates,” Knobel continued. “As important, it creates an alliance between strong academic institutions which share a commitment to enrolling student athletes whose participation in sport supports their pursuit of academic excellence and provides avenues of personal challenge and growth. We in the NCAC are pleased to forge another connection with UAA institutions already partners in a variety of academic initiatives,” Knobel said.

Jared Cohon, President of the UAA and Carnegie Mellon University agreed, “This agreement between the University Athletic Association and the North Coast Athletic Conference will enable us to continue to compete against some of the top academic institutions on the NCAA Division III level. The new partnership adheres to the UAA belief that it is beneficial to compete with schools of similar academic standing and that academic and athletic excellence are not mutually exclusive.”

One of the unique qualities of the schedule is that the NCAC-UAA games are interspersed amongst the regular season, deep into October.

“Most conferences schedule their non-conference games at the top of their schedule and then finish with consecutive weeks of conference games,” explained Collins. “In this case we integrated the UAA deep into the schedule to make sure that they would not have scheduling holes in October where it is nearly impossible to schedule non-conference games — however, both conferences finish with their conference games the last three weeks of the football season.”

“The cooperation and flexibility of our members in putting this agreement together and balancing the competitive and geographic considerations, as well as factors such as maintaining traditional rivalries, has been exceptional,” Rasmussen added.

Coaching groups and administrators in each conference are excited and though the formal schedule does not begin until 2008, some have already connected individually to play earlier, Collins noted.

Typically, college football schedules are made years in advance and that was also the case here as some existing non-conference games, in particular for NCAC colleges, had to be worked around. This caused some unusual scenarios, such as starting off the season with a conference contest.

“The NCAC and UAA allied football schedule certainly possesses the unique combination of academic and athletic pursuit of excellence that is hard to duplicate anywhere else in NCAA Division III," said Vernon Mummert, AD at Wabash College (and the Chair of NCAC Athletic Directors). “Along with Wabash’s great football rivalry with DePauw (The Monon Bell Game), Wabash is elated to have the University of Chicago and Washington University of St. Louis on our schedule.”

“We are extremely excited that a football scheduling alliance was agreed to by the UAA and the NCAC," stated John Schael, Director of Athletics at Washington University. “The alliance will have a positive impact on the lives of talented students who select UAA and NCAC institutions for an extraordinary experience in academics and intercollegiate athletics. It’s a win-win situation for everyone—student-athletes, coaches and institutions!”

“I am enthused about the NCAC-UAA scheduling agreement,” said Mark Matlak, football coach at Allegheny College. It is something that our college wanted to happen. It is a positive for our alumni, institution and student-athletes to be associated with such prestigious universities. We look forward to the competition on the field and know it will enhance our players’ college experience.”

“This agreement provides us with continuity in our scheduling against some great academic institutions in Division III," said Rich Lackner, football coach at Carnegie Mellon University. “We are excited about competing against teams in such a prestigious conference.”

Additional Comments:
Tom Mulligan, Hiram College Director of Athletics: “The scheduling alliance between the NCAC and UAA is very exciting. Student-athletes, coaches and institutions in both leagues will experience substantial benefits from this compact. It will make our regular season much richer with quality opponents each week.”

Tom Weingartner, University of Chicago Director of Athletics: “The UAA football coaches and athletic directors are delighted with this new and very innovative scheduling arrangement with our colleagues in the NCAC. It is consistent with William Bowen’s recommendation in his book, Reclaiming the Game that special efforts be made with the sport of football to schedule appropriate opponents. The institutions in these two conferences are a good match both academically and athletically and, in the end, our students will be well served traveling to our respective campuses and competing against one another.”


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