ASUN AQ Bid Options
Source confirms the ASUN's Jax State, Eastern Kentucky and Central Arkansas will partner with the WAC and play a single round-robin schedule as the "AQ7". Top team will earn an AQ bid.
UNA and KSU will remain in the Big South this fall, @TimesDaily previously reported.
— Michael Hebert (@md_hebert55) February 22, 2021
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.
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.