Pioneer Football League & Northeast Conference Champions to meet in

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ST. LOUIS – The Pioneer Football League (PFL) and Northeast Conference (NEC) today announced a two-year agreement to meet in the Gridiron Classic, an exempted postseason football game that will match the champions of the two I-AA football conferences.

The inaugural Gridiron Classic will take place on Saturday, November 18 with the NEC champion serving as host. The PFL winner will host the 2007 event.

“Student-athletes thrive on competition and having a meaningful postseason opportunity is a high priority for our institutions,” said Patty Viverito, PFL Commissioner. “The PFL’s new full round-robin schedule will crown a true league champion and the Gridiron Classic gives our best team the chance to test and showcase their talents against another top-notch Division I-AA champion.”

“We are very pleased about the postseason opportunity that the Gridiron Classic affords our student-athletes,” said Ron Ratner, NEC Interim Commissioner. “The NEC and its schools look forward to working with the PFL in making this a highly anticipated game at the I-AA level.”

Central Connecticut State and Stony Brook are the defending NEC co-champions, while San Diego is the reigning PFL champion.

Set to begin its 14th season, the Pioneer Football League is one of three Division I football-only sport conferences. The PFL is comprised of eight members: Butler, Dayton, Davidson, Drake, Jacksonville, Morehead State, San Diego and Valparaiso.

The Northeast Conference consists of 11 institutions of higher learning located throughout five states and is celebrating its 25th year as an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association. The NEC began sponsoring football at the I-AA level in 1996, and has since increased its membership from five to eight institutions. Central Connecticut State, Monmouth, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (PA) and Wagner are full-time NEC members who sponsor football, and they are joined by associate members Albany and Stony Brook.