Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stony Brook to join CAA Football in 2013

A new era of Stony Brook Football in the premier FCS conference to begin in 2013.

Stony Brook, N.Y. - Stony Brook University has accepted an invitation to join the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) as an affiliated member for Football, President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. and Director of Athletics Jim Fiore announced Tuesday.  The premier Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conference, CAA Football has produced 23 postseason appearances and two national champions over the last five seasons.
Stony Brook, which will remain an all-sports member of the America East Conference, will begin playing football in the CAA in 2013, when the rest of the league will be comprised of the University of Delaware, James Madison University, University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, University of Richmond, Towson University, Villanova University, the College of William & Mary and the University at Albany.  The Seawolves will be immediately eligible for the conference championship and automatic bid into the NCAA Division I Football Championship.
“Today is a proud day for Stony Brook University as we continue to elevate our intercollegiate athletics program to higher levels of excellence,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.  “Moving our football program into the CAA aligns us with the elite academic and athletic institutions in the Football Championship Subdivision.  We are excited for the opportunity to showcase our talented student-athletes, modern facilities and beautiful campus to a broader audience while also providing our students, the campus community, our fans and alumni a new and exciting level of Seawolves college football to enjoy.”
“We are honored by this opportunity to become a member of CAA Football,” Fiore said.  “We will now compete in arguably the most challenging and respected conference in the Football Championship Subdivision, while also allowing us to continue to develop regional rivalries through conference participation.” Fiore said.  “We have truly enjoyed our association and greatly respect the five-year relationship we have built as a proud member of the Big South Conference.  On behalf of Stony Brook University, I would like to thank and wish them well as they continue to grow and develop their football membership.

“Stony Brook Football has come very far, very fast over the last five years, and now is the time to elevate our program further and to put ourselves in a position to win national championships,” Fiore continued.  “The CAA has a clear pedigree and built an unrivaled tradition of excellence, and I am confident that under Coach Chuck Priore’s leadership, our football program will continue to grow and annually compete for league and national championships as members of the CAA. Clearly, as we join this outstanding conference today, our best days are ahead of us.”
CAA Football has achieved unprecedented success in FCS since taking the reins of the league in 2007.  The conference has produced two national championships, four national championship game appearances, eight semifinals appearances and more than 30 postseason wins in that span.  In 2007, the conference earned a record five bids into the NCAA Div. I Football Championship and then repeated the feat in 2008 and 2011.
Including its years under the Atlantic 10 and Yankee Conference monikers, CAA Football institutions have accumulated five national championships, four national championship runners-up, 80 NCAA playoff berths, 337 Sports Network All-Americans (since 1987), six Walter Payton Award winners, six Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year winners and six AFCA National Coach of the Year winners.
Demonstrating the incredible balance and competitiveness of the league, seven different teams have claimed at least a share of the conference championship since 2007, and all 10 of the teams that will comprise CAA Football in 2013 have reached postseason over the last five seasons.  Eight of those 10 have won at least one postseason game.
“Stony Brook Football has come very far, very fast over the last five years, and now is the time to elevate our program further and to put ourselves in a position to win national championships.”
- Stony Brook Director of Athletics Jim Fiore
CAA Football will also afford Stony Brook much more national exposure. Beginning this fall, CAA Football is kicking off a five-year agreement with the NBC Sports Group that provides a minimum of five national television broadcasts on the NBC Sports Network and continues its regional television coverage using the Comcast SportsNet regional networks.
“Coach Priore has Stony Brook poised for yet another run for the NCAA Playoffs,” Yeager said.  “Welcoming the Seawolves into our league next season will present our current members with yet another challenging matchup come Saturdays in the fall.”
Boasting Long Island’s only Div. I football program, Stony Brook Athletics has been on an incredible upward trajectory since 2003.  Specific to football, since joining the Big South Conference in 2008, the Seawolves have positioned themselves as players on the national Football Championship Subdivision scene.  Under head coach Chuck Priore, the Seawolves have captured three consecutive Big South championships and earned the program’s first-ever NCAA Div. I Football Championship berth in 2011 after going unbeaten in the league (6-0).
Stony Brook, which produced a program-best nine-game winning streak during the 2011 season, then advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a thrilling 31-28 first-round win over Albany at a sold-out Kenneth P. Lavalle Stadium before losing to national runner-up and then-No. 1 Sam Houston State.  The Seawolves finished the season nationally ranked in both the FCS Coaches and Sports Network polls for the first time ever and were the nation’s top scoring offense at 38.0 points per game.
“Joining CAA Football will surely raise the profile of our program as we will now compete against the best of the best in Football Championship Subdivision,” Priore said. “As we take on premier FCS teams within our conference and continue to play a challenging non-conference schedule, we will have the opportunity to expand our recruiting efforts and find the best and the brightest to come to Stony Brook University. Our coaches and student-athletes are eager for the challenge, and we expect that this opportunity will allow us to annually compete for a national championship each year.”
Stony Brook has also chosen to compete with the best of the best at the Football Bowl Subdivision level (FBS).  Since reaching the maximum allotment of scholarships of 63 in 2010, the Seawolves have competed against the University of South Florida, University of Texas at El Paso and the University at  Buffalo.  Stony Brook will take on Syracuse University and the United States Military Academy in 2012 and is contracted to face Boston College, the University of Cincinnati and the University at Buffalo in future seasons.
CAA Football has traditionally been strong against FBS foes, producing nine victories since 2007, including four in 2009 alone, 17 over the last 10 seasons and 29 wins over the conference’s overall 34-year history.
In addition to improving its athletic standing on the field, Stony Brook is aligning itself with like-minded institutions that place an emphasis on student-athlete work in the classroom.  CAA Football has had 10 programs earn NCAA Public Recognition Awards over the last three years for ranking among the top 10 percent of the FCS in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rating system.  This year, Stony Brook received an award from the Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) for achieving the highest APR in the Big South Conference.
For the upcoming 2012 season, Stony Brook will compete in the Big South, looking to win its fourth consecutive conference championship, and will return 47 letterwinners and 17 starters from last season’s championship squad.  Since joining the league in 2008, the Seawolves have compiled a 19-4 conference record and have won 10 consecutive home Big South games.  Stony Brook’s 2012 football season kicks off on Sept. 1 against Central Connecticut State at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at 6 p.m.