Football Signs Schedule Alliance with SAC
By Jonathan Bym, Editor
The UNCP athletic department announced on Jan. 12 that, starting in 2017, the football team would start a four-year scheduling alliance with the South Atlantic Conference (SAC).
“I think its great. It’s an opportunity for us to have a set schedule and get to compete against guys we are familiar with,” UNCP football coach Shane Richardson said. “I think it is going to create a nice consistency with what we are trying to do.”
In the agreement, the Braves will face off with the SAC football-playing schools on a regular basis but will not be allowed to play for the football championship or have their players named to the preseason or postseason all-conference teams. Also, games against UNCP will not be counted as a conference game.
"I cannot thank the South Atlantic Conference leadership and commissioner Pat Britz enough for their collective willingness to visit, brainstorm and discuss this partnership over the past 18 months," said UNCP director of athletics Dick Christy in a press release. "UNC Pembroke will always be indebted to Chancellor Carter for his dedication to guide this partnership forward, as well as Dan Kenney for establishing our strong relationship with the SAC years ago.”
All eight SAC schools with football programs are within 375 miles of UNCP, which will likely reduce travel costs for the program, according to the athletic department press release.
In the program’s seven-year history, the Braves are 13-12 overall against the SAC schools with 11 of those games being decided by less than 10 points.
“I felt like in the past we were able to match up with those teams really well,” Richardson said. “They’re going to be really competitive, and it’s a great opportunity to raise our level of play.”
Since bringing back football in 2007, finding a conference for football has been a subject that the athletic department has worked on. During this process of finding a conference home, the department has talked with the SAC and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) due to those conferences having schools in the local area.
“For all we know, it’s a scheduling alliance,” Richardson said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to schedule games and be a part of a great conference.”
Being part of the scheduling alliance plays in UNCP’s favor, as now the football program will have in-region Division II opponents to face off against on a regular basis.
This could mean a boosted strength of schedule when it comes to making the NCAA playoffs.
Illustration by Jonathan Bym.