Fordham University will begin awarding football scholarships in the fall of 2010. The move will help Fordham compete at the highest level in the NCAA FCS and aid the Rams in enhancing their non-conference schedule.
“I am very pleased to announce this momentous news for the football Rams,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “This is a sea change for Fordham athletics: these scholarships will allow more students to participate in Fordham football, and will make the team much more competitive.”
Fordham will remain as an associate member of the Patriot League for football, which currently does not offer athletic scholarships, and will be eligible for the 2009 league title and automatic playoff bid.
Fordham will continue to play the league schedule until at least 2012, but will not be eligible for the Patriot League championship beginning in 2010. Fordham also will continue to abide by the league’s academic and eligibility requirements.
Despite not being eligible for the Patriot League title starting in 2010, Fordham still will be eligible to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs.
Fordham will offer 60 scholarships, allowing the Rams to schedule NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools. Fordham already has scheduled games with Connecticut in 2011, Navy in 2012 and Army in 2014 and 2015.
“I would like to publicly thank the Patriot League as this has been a long process of ongoing discussion and I appreciate everyone’s understanding,” said Frank McLaughlin, Fordham’s executive director of athletics. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with the league’s schools, along with our ongoing annual rivalry with Columbia University. We also look forward to the opportunity to compete in future games with other Ivy League schools. Finally, the scholarships will allow us to renew rivalries with Army and Villanova and to enhance our schedule with the addition of schools such as Navy and Connecticut.”
“This is a great day for Fordham football,” said head coach Tom Masella. “Being able to award scholarships based on athletic ability will greatly increase the pool of student-athletes that we are able to recruit.”