AIC football takes aim at first conference championship game

Sept. 4, 2012
SOUTH EASTON — The American International College (AIC) football team was picked to finish third in the 2012 Northeast-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll; it was announced by the conference office, receiving 50 points and one first-place vote.

Defending conference champion New Haven was picked to repeat with 63 points and seven first-place votes, while Southern Connecticut was picked to finish second with 53 points and one first-place vote. The Owls finished second in the conference last season, one game ahead of the AIC, Bentley and Merrimack.

Bentley and Merrimack were selected to finish fourth with 41 points each. Rounding out the voting were Assumption (29 points), Stonehill (24 points), Saint Anselm (15 points) and Pace (eight points).

The Yellow Jackets posted an overall record of 6-4 in 2011, including a 5-3 mark in the Northeast-10. The 2012 season will kick-off with a non-conference game at Shepherd on Sept. 8 at noon as they try to make the conference's first championship game.

The Northeast-10 Conference announced this month the formation of a championship game in the sport of football, which will go into effect beginning with the upcoming 2012 season. The football championship will become the 23rd conference championship and provide an opportunity for an additional 175 student-athletes to experience a Northeast-10 postseason contest.

Its creation generates a championship game atmosphere at the end of the regular season and provides an additional Division II opponent for all but one of the conference's nine football programs.

Following the completion of the regular season, the top seed will play host to the second seed in the conference championship game on the weekend immediately preceding the start of the NCAA Division II Championship.

"This is an exciting step forward for Northeast-10 football," Richard Bedard, director of athletics at AIC, said. "This will provide a truly wonderful experience for the conference's student-athletes, and provide tremendous exposure for football programs in the Northeast-10."

To adhere to the new championship format, the conference schedule for the nine football teams has been adjusted in order to meet the needs of the championship structure.

This year's championship weekend will take place on Nov. 10.

As mentioned, the top seed will play host to the second seed in the championship matchup.

Additionally, the team that finishes third during the regular season will play host to the team that finishes sixth, the fourth-place finisher will host the seventh-place finisher, and the fifth-place squad will take on the eighth-place team. The team finishing ninth will not be involved in the championship weekend.

"The Northeast-10 Directors of Athletics have had extensive discussions about how the conference can assist our membership in scheduling Division II football contests," Commissioner Julie Ruppert said. "The creation of this slate of weekend games not only accomplishes that goal but also enhances the student-athlete experience by providing a post-season opportunity in the only sport that had not been included in the past. I commend the athletic directors for developing a great opportunity for our football student-athletes that at the same time offers a cost-effective solution to scheduling."

The Northeast-10 Conference is an association of 16 NCAA Division II colleges and universities located in New England and New York that is committed to supporting balanced academic and athletic opportunities for more than 6,000 student-athletes.

Each year, 4,000 of those student-athletes compete in conference championships in 23 sports, making the Northeast-10 the largest Division II conference in the country.

Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the Northeast-10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.

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