Pioneer Football League Commissioner Patty Viverito has announced that Marist College has accepted the league's invitation for membership.
Marist is currently a member of the non-scholarship Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and has three conference titles to its credit, including back-to-back co-championships in 2006 and 2007. The Red Foxes, which began play in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision in 1993, will join the PFL in 2009 as the league’s 10th member.
"We are proud to be included in a league with schools known nationally for their accomplishments in the classroom and on the football field,” Marist College president Dr. Dennis J. Murray said. “Marist fosters an appreciation of what it means to be a true student-athlete, encouraging success in academics as well as athletics. The colleges and universities in the Pioneer League share this same philosophy, so we feel we have found the right home for our football program."
“The Pioneer Football League enthusiastically welcomes Marist as our newest member,” said Viverito. “PFL expansion is a positive step toward growing non-scholarship football, within the league and nationally.”
In June 2007 the PFL hosted a summit for institutions which sponsor, or have interest in sponsoring, Division I non-scholarship football programs. Since that time, the league has taken a leadership role to foster this brand of football, recognizing it is important to have those that sponsor non-scholarship football to keep it and those considering adding non-scholarship football to add it.
The Pioneer Football League, which recently completed its 15th season, is a non-scholarship NCAA Football Championship Sub-Division conference. The league still retains four of its charter members – Butler University, the University of Dayton, Drake University and Valparaiso University, plus the University of San Diego (joining in 1992) – which were joined in 2001 by four new teams, three of which remain today – Davidson College, Jacksonville University and Morehead State University. The league will expand to nine members in 2008 with the addition of Campbell University.
“It will be nice to have Marist in the PFL and to have an even number of teams in the league starting in 2009,” Valpo head coach Stacy Adams said.
In January 1991 the NCAA passed legislation to require Division I institutions to sponsor all intercollegiate sports at the Division I level. Each of the league's members are dedicated to the enhancement and sound management of intercollegiate football as an integral part of the student-athletes’ collegiate experience. From the league’s inception it has been a proponent of the creation of a non-scholarship football classification within Division I and adopted the moniker of Pioneer based on the intent to become the first league in that new division. All the league's members are committed to the non-scholarship football model.