Duquesne University Joins Northeast Conference As Associate Member In Football
Jan. 22, 2007
Duquesne University President Dr. Charles Dougherty and Director of Athletics Greg Amodio announced today that Duquesne has accepted an invitation from commissioner Brenda Weare to become an associate member of the Northeast Conference in the sport of football. Duquesne, a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League since 1994, will begin participation in the NEC beginning with the 2008 football season. Duquesne will complete its final season as a member of the MAAC Football League in 2007.
"We are excited to add a football program the caliber of Duquesne," said Weare. "Football is an integral sport in the NEC, and the addition of Duquesne will strengthen our reputation as an emerging Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) league."
"Our decision to join the NEC is a renewed University commitment to football," said Dougherty. "We have a long and highly successful tradition in the sport. With our new conference and the addition of scholarships, the future of Duquesne football is not only secure but also bright and exciting."
With the move to the NEC, Duquesne will grant 18 scholarships beginning in February of 2008 and will increase that number by two for the ensuing three years. Duquesne granted only need-based financial aid for football playing student-athletes as a member of the MAAC.
The NEC competed as a non-scholarship member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision until last season when the conference adopted an athletics-based aid model.
"We are pleased and excited to be a football-playing member of the Northeast Conference," said Amodio. "The NEC membership has demonstrated a continued commitment to its football programs and we are proud to join that group. We look forward to the next great chapter in the rich football history at Duquesne."
Duquesne, under the direction of second-year head coach Jerry Schmitt, posted a 7-3 record and earned a share of its eighth consecutive MAAC championship in 2006. DU, winner of 10 of the past 12 MAAC titles overall, won 39 consecutive conference games between 1999-06. During that impressive stretch, Duquesne captured the 2003 Sports Network Cup, emblematic of the top NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Mid-Major program in the country.
"I think this move will cause prospective student-athletes to look at Duquesne University a little differently," said Schmitt. "Not only will they see Duquesne's high academic standards, but they'll also see the enhanced commitment to the football program. From a competitive standpoint, we always strive for improvement. We are excited for the opportunity to compete against the quality programs in the NEC."
Duquesne began as a Football Bowl Subdivision team in 1902 and won a pair of New Years Day Bowl games (1934 Festival of Palms and 1937 Orange) before the program was disbanded following the 1950 season. DU returned at the Club level prior to the 1969 season and won a National Club Championship in 1973. The Dukes competed at the NCAA Division III level from 1979-92 before moving up to the non-scholarship Football Championship Subdivision in 1993.
Duquesne is 11-6 all-time against the NEC - including a 7-1 mark since 2003. DU's 12-10 win over Monmouth in the 2003 ECAC Classic clinched that season's mid-major National Championship.
The NEC Football League, which was established in 1996, includes full time conference members Central Connecticut State University, Monmouth University, Robert Morris University, Sacred Heart University, Saint Francis (Pa.) University and Wagner College along with associate member the University at Albany.
DUQUESNE VERSUS THE NEC
DUQUESNE VS. THE NORTHEAST CONFERENCE
NEC School W-L Last meeting H/A W-L Score Albany 0-1 2002 ECAC Classic A L 0-24 Central Conn. St. 0-0 1993 at CCSU* A L 22-41 Monmouth 1-0 2003 ECAC Classic H W 12-10 Robert Morris 4-4 2006 at Robert Morris A W 27-7 Sacred Heart 1-1 2006 at Duquesne H W 24-21 Saint Francis, Pa. 5-0 2006 at Duquesne H W 41-10 Wagner 0-0 1995 ECAC Bowl H W 44-20
NOTES: One meeting with Central Connecticut and three other games with Wagner came before the formation of the NEC in 1996 ... Duquesne is 27-5 all-time vs. St. Francis, 5-0 since SFU became a football-playing member of the NEC ... Duquesne played Wagner in 1992 (when the Dukes competed as a D-III school), 1993 (its first season in I-AA) & the 1995 ECAC Bowl ... three of the four NEC road wins have come at Saint Francis (the other was in 2006 at Robert Morris) ... the only other NEC school Duquesne has played on the road is Albany (0-1 - 2002 ECAC Classic).