Fordham Football Adds Scholarships While Basketball Withers
After months of speculation, the final details were revealed regarding the interesting Fordham football situation. This information has been revealed with little fanfare.
To recap, Fordham let it be known that they want to have football scholarships, something their conference home, the Patriot League, does not allow. The Patriot League didn’t give in on the demand, which would make one think Fordham would need to find a new home.
Instead, the Patriot and Fordham came to an agreement: Fordham will add scholarships but remain in the Patriot League. But in doing so, they will not be eligible for the conference championship, nor the Patriot League automatic playoff bid.
Yes, that’s the deal. So Fordham can have scholarships but need to get an at-large bid to make the playoffs.
So the football scholarship saga is over for now. Fordham will have its scholarships, and have the luxury of a Patriot League schedule.
Waiting for a CAA Split
But why would Fordham agree to this deal? Well, they are waiting for a conference opportunity to present itself. Fordham has 3 years to work this odd Patriot League scheduling agreement as they search for a new home.
But there aren’t many options. In fact, there really is only one. What will not likely be an option will be the CAA, as that conference is set to expand to 14 teams in the next couple years. What could happen would be an A10/America East sponsored football league, made of mostly of current associate members for CAA football.
A potential split remains an option for the CAA should the right situation present itself. If Fordham makes strides as a scholarship program, they could factor into the decision for a split. Such a division in the CAA-14 would likely start with the core: the 8 all-sports CAA schools would make CAA football, and the 6 non-CAA could explore a new league. Villanova, an associate member, would likely choose to remain in the CAA and would likely be given the opportunity by the CAA admins. Richmond is right in CAA country, but if the A10 had a financial stake in a new league, Richmond might be forced to participate as a member or risk having to leave the A10.
So what likely would be the only situation in which Fordham would have a quality conference to join for football, lineups would be as such:
A10/America East Football conference:
UMass: A10 member
Rhode Island: A10 member
Fordham: A10 member
Richmond: A10 member
Maine: AE member
UNH: AE member
Stonybrook: AE member (football in Big South)
* Albany: AE member (considering upgrade)
Problems with the Fordham Football Scenario – Big Picture Athletics Flaw:
All this football talk takes away from a bigger problem. Fordham is will to spend money on football scholarships and upgrading their program at a time when they have a dreadful basketball program in the A10. They have the worst facilities and are fresh off a 3-22 record. They can’t recruit as their top players are transferring out. The Fordham basketball program is a complete mess and they aren’t far away from getting pressure by the league. When they joined there were assumptions about facility upgrades. Over a decade later, there has been no progress. The Fordham program is best suited for the MAAC right now and looks to be at the bottom of the conference.
The football drama is just that, but the bigger question is “Why?”. Why worry about football until after you’ve brought basketball to at least an average level.