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ASUN AQ Bid Options

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Well, some questions have now been answered. Several remain.

From the release: 

In conjunction with Tuesday's press conference, ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart announced the following highlights for the inaugural season of ASUN Football.

  • Fall 2021 Football Schedules in the ASUN-WAC Challenge
  • Fall 2021 Automatic Bid - The ASUN has applied for AQ (automatic qualification) into the NCAA FCS Championship and meets all current criteria and all proposed amendment criteria (NCAA Proposal 2020-18=core schools, one-year continuity with three).
  • ASUN-WAC Challenge 2021 - Seven squads (Abilene Christian, Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Lamar, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin) will play a single round-robin schedule with the top team earning an AQ. The conference standings will be presented as the ASUN-WAC Challenge.
  • ASUN Game Day - The ASUN will be bringing a new video series to life next fall. The show will be primarily studio-driven but could make a campus appearance for a live on-site episode. Plans are to extend the series from football into basketball.
  • Big South partnership to continue - Kennesaw State and North Alabama will be competing in the Big South for the fall 2021 season. We plan to build additional partnerships with the Big South.
  • AQ Eligibility for North Alabama. Reclassifying schools are not eligible to earn an AQ until they have completed four years as a reclassifying school. The ASUN SAAC has sponsored a proposal along with four other conference SAACs to change that rule. Under the proposed change, teams could earn an AQ after successfully completing two years of reclassification. If this passes, North Alabama could earn an AQ in fall 2021 (playing in the Big South).
  • United Atlanta Classic - We are filing paperwork to create a separate entity as a 501(c)(3). The United Atlanta Classic will serve as the ASUN's local Atlanta team to work with the office of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and with Dan Corso and the Atlanta Sports Council to organize and present a multiple-game series in Atlanta on a specific weekend. We intend to start in Fall 2021, if possible, but no later than fall 2022.
  • Challenge Series - The ASUN is in initial talks with the Big South, our football partner, about building an ASUN-Big South Challenge to begin in fall 2022. The conferences would line up and play each other on the final day of the FCS regular season. Match-ups would be determined mid-season.
  • 2021 Media Arrangements - The ASUN's exclusive partner in linear and digital platform broadcasting is ESPN. ASUN Football will open negotiations with ESPN for the rights to broadcast our home games in the ASUN-WAC Challenge and on an overall renewal of the ASUN Agreement.
  • SEC Partnership for football officiating - The ASUN is part of a conference-wide partnership in officiating with the SEC. We will begin working on plans for the special fall 2021 season and for our first fully ASUN season in fall 2022. We expect to name a coordinator of ASUN Football officials by April 1.
  • Expectations for ASUN Football growth - The ASUN is very confident that we will have options for further expansion, both in football and non-football institutions. We have been bold, innovative and willing to build new options and we will continue to conduct our membership expansion activities over the next five months.
  • Today is the official birth of ASUN Football. These five schools are the charter members. It is a new day, and ASUN Football aspires to be, plans to be and expects to be the top FCS football conference in the country.
  • The ASUN has formed a partnership with Baker's Sporting Goods in Jacksonville, Fla. There will be charter member football gear produced and shared before next fall. You all will have a chance to get limited edition gear. The schools will get exclusive charter member gear.

With the addition of Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State on Jan. 29th, FCS Scholarship Football became the 20th sport sponsored by the ASUN Conference. The ASUN Conference expanded its geographic footprint to seven states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia) and now features 12 of the top-80 media markets in the nation and seven of the top-50.


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The ASUN Conference and Western Athletic Conference have agreed on a one-year Football scheduling alliance for the 2021 fall football season. Presented as the ASUN-WAC Challenge, the agreement will allow for seven institutions--three ASUN members and four WAC members--to be eligible for an automatic qualification into the 2021 NCAA FCS Playoffs.
"The ASUN and WAC are proud to be building opportunities for our student-athletes to compete at the highest level," stated ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart. "This partnership provides teams in both leagues a path to an automatic bid and elevates the ASUN and WAC to a new level of competition. We look forward to creating more innovative ways to promote ASUN Football as an NCAA FCS league in 2021 and beyond."
The alliance will feature Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State from the ASUN Conference and Abilene Christian, Lamar University, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin from the WAC. ASUN members Kennesaw State and North Alabama will continue to participate in the Big South Conference for the 2021 season, while 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 status as NCAA Division I reclassifying institutions. WAC member New Mexico State will continue as an FBS Independent. ASUN member Liberty will continue as an FBS Independent. ASUN member Stetson will continue to play in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League. 
The seven schools, known as the AQ7, will play a single round-robin, with each institution having three home contests and three road contests. The home team will be responsible for officials, control media rights and game broadcast inventory.  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.
ASUN-WAC Challenge Schedule Dates
Sept. 25, 2021
Sam Houston at Central Arkansas
Abilene Christian at Lamar
Oct. 2, 2021
Central Arkansas at Abilene Christian
Tarleton at Eastern Kentucky - #
Sam Houston at Stephen F. Austin
Oct. 9, 2021
Abilene Christian at Eastern Kentucky
Stephen F. Austin at Jacksonville State
Lamar at Sam Houston
Oct. 16, 2021
Lamar at Abilene Christian
Eastern Kentucky at Central Arkansas
Tarleton at Dixie State - #
Oct. 23, 2021
Central Arkansas at Lamar
Stephen F. Austin at Dixie State - #
Jacksonville State at Sam Houston
Oct. 30, 2021
Abilene Christian at Stephen F. Austin
Central Arkansas at Jacksonville State
Lamar at Eastern Kentucky
Sam Houston at Tarleton - #
Nov. 6, 2021
Abilene Christian at Jacksonville State
Dixie State at Sam Houston
Eastern Kentucky at Stephen F. Austin
Lamar at Tarleton - #
Nov. 13, 2021
Tarleton at Abilene Christian - #
Stephen F. Austin at Central Arkansas
Eastern Kentucky at Sam Houston
Jacksonville State at Lamar
Nov. 20, 2021
Sam Houston at Abilene Christian
Central Arkansas at Tarleton - #
Jacksonville State at Eastern Kentucky
Stephen F. Austin at Lamar
# - Contests against Dixie State and Tarleton do not count towards alliance win percentage
Whup Em All
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JSU and EKU both have to travel to SHSU. That's a tough draw, but I think both are up to the challenge. UCA gets them at home, so hopefully they'll take care of business as well.

The rest of the "WAC" portion of the schedule doesn't thrill me much, but it's just for one year.

I'm going to call it now:  The ASUN will win the challenge.

As for the "ASUN" portion of the schedule... the JSU-UCA game should be good. I've been hoping for that matchup for a few years. (I just didn't expect it to ever be a conference game.)

And JSU and EKU know each other rather well. The Gamecocks should have no trouble getting motivated for that one.

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