NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The SFA football team will participate in the WAC-ASUN Challenge in the fall of 2021 with the hopes of earning an automatic qualifier into the NCAA DI playoffs.
“This is a great opportunity for all institutions involved”, said SFA Director of Athletics Ryan Ivey in a release from the school. “This alliance provides us the chance to position ourselves for a potential playoff opportunity, while at the same time solidifying our opportunities to compete for a WAC championship. This could not have been possible without the leadership from all of the involved institutions, and I am extremely proud of the way this came together.””
The Alliance between the two new football leagues will allow for teams that are eligible for postseason play to compete for a chance to make the playoffs at the FCS level. Schools representing the WAC are Abilene Christian, Lamar University, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin. The ASUN will be represented by Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State. According to the release, WAC members Dixie State and Tarleton will participate in the joint schedule but will not be eligible for the group’s AQ due to their transition to NCAA Division I. ASUN members Kennesaw State and North Alabama will continue to participate in the Big South Conference for the 2021 season and WAC member NM State will continue as an FBS Independent.
So how will it work? Here is the format laid out by the two leagues:
The seven eligible programs will be known as the AQ7 and will play a single round-robin featuring three home contests and three road tilts apiece. The team with the highest winning percentage among AQ7 games shall receive the automatic qualification to the FCS playoffs. In addition, a trophy will be presented to the conference that has the highest winning percentage against the other conference.
“I greatly appreciate all the AD’s of the sevem different schools working together to do what’s best for the student athletes”, said SFA Head Football Coach Colby Carthel. “This alliance not only provides AQ status, but it allows for one of the more competitive FCS conference schedules in the country, which will in turn provide playoff opportunities for multiple teams. It’s going to be fun!”
What will the SFA schedule look like?
Here is what we know from the announcement and past contracts that had been announced.
9/11 @ Texas Tech
9/18 vs Mississippi Valley State
10/2 vs Sam Houston State @ NRG Stadium (SFA is the designated home team)
10/9 @ Jacksonville State
10/23 @ Dixie State
10/30 vs Abilene Christian
11/6 vs Eastern Kentucky
11/13 @ Central Arkansas
11/20 @ Lamar Cardinals