/notables/2014/03/njac-goes-big-for-2015

NJAC goes big for 2015


Could Wesley quarterback Joe Callahan be the NJAC player of the year in 2015?
Photo by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com

The New Jersey Athletic Conference is getting a lot bigger and a lot stronger in football in 2015, as Wesley, Salisbury, Christopher Newport and Frostburg State join the league, while Morrisville State moves to the Empire 8.

The additions, announced Monday, will return the NJAC to 10 teams and give the league a lineup of teams that have combined for 41 playoff appearances in the 15 years of the automatic bid era.

As the NJAC has tried first to gain, then maintain that automatic bid, it has welcomed associate members from Connecticut (Western Connecticut State) and New York (Brockport, Buffalo, Cortland and Morrisville State). But Western Connecticut left for easier competition in New England, Brockport and Buffalo will be in the Empire 8 this year and earlier this offseason, Cortland announced it was leaving for the Empire 8 as well. With this move, Morrisville State will join them.

The core members of the conference are all New Jersey state schools: Kean, Montclair State, Rowan, TCNJ and William Paterson. They will be joined by the five football-sponsoring members of the Capital Athletic Conference to form this super-sized league. Southern Virginia becomes an NJAC member starting with the 2014 season, with the rest joining in 2015.

For Wesley, it will be the first opportunity to compete for an automatic bid in football in the program’s history. As an independent, the Wolverines have had to schedule 10 non-conference games every year and played last year in Texas, Alabama, New Jersey and North Carolina. Now Wesley will need just one non-conference opponent each season.

Call it the New-JAC

The NJAC's 2015 alignment will feature three schools who have been to the playoffs eight or more times in the 15 years of the automatic bid era, and five schools who have participated in the NCAA playoffs six or more times since 1999. Their 2013 results: 

School W-L Conf W-L Overall Playoff appearances
Wesley 0-0 IND 10-3 0.769 10
Rowan 6-1 NJAC 9-3 0.750 8
Christopher Newport 5-2 USAC 8-2 0.800 9
Southern Virginia * 0-0 IND 8-2 0.800 --
Salisbury 5-2 E8 7-4 0.636 6
TCNJ 4-3 NJAC 5-5 0.500 1
Montclair State 3-4 NJAC 4-6 0.400 6
William Paterson 1-6 NJAC 3-7 0.300 0
Kean 1-6 NJAC 2-8 0.200 1
Frostburg State 0-7 E8 1-9 0.100 0
Southern Virginia is a provisional member of Division III.

“We are extremely excited about the future of our football conference with the addition of these tremendous programs,” said NJAC commissioner Terry Small. “Our presidents and athletic administrators have been seeking stability in terms of our football membership, and we now believe that we have assembled one of the strongest football conferences in all of NCAA Division III. By adding these quality programs and partnering with these outstanding institutions, we believe we have aligned many of the top Division III football programs in the region while helping to ease the burden of scheduling that all of the institutions have experienced throughout the years.”

Now spanning from northern New Jersey to southern Virginia, the new conference is only slightly more compact – the longest trip is the 412 miles from William Paterson to Southern Virginia – but it will be a significant improvement for Salisbury and Frostburg, who were members of the Empire 8 in football. Christopher Newport has remained a member of the USA South in football despite bolting the conference in other sports. And the five NJAC members who sponsor football will at least have a chance on paper at an automatic bid.

Football is a big driver of enrollment numbers for the two private schools in this league, Wesley and Southern Virginia. The NJAC's 100-man roster limit will be raised to include a 25-man developmental squad (junior varsity) to try to mitigate the effects of moving into the league.

The move also takes a little of the strength out of the Empire 8, taking Salisbury. But it also makes that league more compact, as the Empire 8 in 2015 will consist solely of schools in the Empire State, barring future moves. The 2015 Empire 8 lineup is Alfred, Brockport State, Buffalo State, Cortland State, Hartwick, Ithaca, Morrisville State, St. John Fisher and Utica. The E8 could add Division III provisional member Alfred State to get to an even 10 schools.

Oct. 13: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 23, Lycoming 16
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Plymouth State 29, at Framingham State 28
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at Hamilton 62, Bowdoin 27
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at Gallaudet 35, Castleton 25
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at Hobart 52, Rochester 7
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Nichols 23, at Becker 15
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Muhlenberg 34, at Thomas More 31
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at Hope 70, Finlandia 6
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King's 51, at Alvernia 7
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at Morrisville State 41, Utica 24
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at Centre 33, Trinity (Texas) 28
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at Cortland 41, Buffalo State 7
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Husson 56, at Alfred State 14
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Wittenberg 41, at Allegheny 14
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Western Connecticut 23, at Massachusetts Maritime 13
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at Amherst 35, Colby 9
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Stevenson 20, at Widener 6
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Wesleyan 44, at Bates 13
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at Case Western Reserve 37, St. Vincent 7
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at Carnegie Mellon 17, Bethany 14
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at Salisbury 17, Montclair State 15
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Maryville (Tenn.) 34, at Methodist 9
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Wabash 7, at Ohio Wesleyan 0
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Misericordia 25, at Lebanon Valley 21
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Denison 20, at DePauw 12
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at Western New England 56, Curry 21
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Randolph-Macon 45, at Shenandoah 14
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Kalamazoo 20, at Albion 19
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Brockport 52, at Alfred 0
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at Westminster (Pa.) 49, Thiel 7
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Wooster 27, at Oberlin 21
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at Washington and Lee 40, Emory and Henry 29
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at Frostburg State 56, William Paterson 0
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at Hiram 28, Kenyon 24
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Wesley 54, at Kean 6
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Trine 50, at Olivet 49
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Southern Virginia 23, at Apprentice 21
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at St. John Fisher 42, Hartwick 14
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MacMurray 27, at Crown 21
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at Martin Luther 28, Westminster (Mo.) 12
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at Macalester 47, Lawrence 21
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Ithaca 24, at Union 0
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at Marietta 63, Wilmington 21
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at Coast Guard 15, Maine Maritime 0
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Mount Union 77, at Capital 3
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at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Tufts 24
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Franklin 42, at Mount St. Joseph 34
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Manchester 21, at Bluffton 17
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John Carroll 49, at Ohio Northern 17
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at Hanover 48, Defiance 7
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at Baldwin Wallace 44, Muskingum 7
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at Grove City 28, Waynesburg 3
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Merchant Marine 17, at Springfield 14
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Middlebury 21, at Williams 10
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at Huntingdon 52, Brevard 17
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Hampden-Sydney 42, at Bridgewater 21
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at SUNY-Maritime 35, Dean 7
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Endicott 66, at University of New England 38
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at Washington and Jefferson 50, Geneva 43
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Berry 35, at Hendrix 14
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at Texas Lutheran 28, East Texas Baptist 21
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Augustana 41, at North Park 7
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Louisiana College 35, at McMurry 23
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at Washington U. 17, Wheaton (Ill.) 10
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Wartburg 31, at Coe 19
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Eureka 44, at Concordia-Chicago 14
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Carleton 36, at Augsburg 34
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Rockford 37, at Lakeland 20
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Gustavus Adolphus 42, at Hamline 14
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at St. John's 40, St. Thomas 20
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Concordia (Wis.) 23, at Aurora 20
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at Benedictine 40, Wisconsin Lutheran 31
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at Loras 44, Nebraska Wesleyan 20
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St. Norbert 21, at Chicago 20
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Bethel 35, at St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 41, Buena Vista 26
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Millikin 32, at Carthage 29
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Knox 28, at Grinnell 7
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at Central 17, Simpson 16
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at Ripon 49, Beloit 14
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at UW-River Falls 21, UW-Stout 19
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Monmouth 45, at Illinois College 13
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at Illinois Wesleyan 44, Elmhurst 28
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UW-Whitewater 45, at UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Sul Ross State 27
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Austin 34, at Millsaps 23
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at Lake Forest 42, Cornell 0
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at UW-Oshkosh 31, UW-Platteville 10
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at Bridgewater State 44, Mass-Dartmouth 28
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at Whitworth 55, Pacific Lutheran 13
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Pacific 23, at Puget Sound 22
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George Fox 28, at Willamette 6
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at Linfield 43, Lewis and Clark 26
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at Southwestern 21, Belhaven 10
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Rowan 17, at TCNJ 14
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Adrian 28, at Alma 23
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Averett 24, at N.C. Wesleyan 14
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Heidelberg 21, at Otterbein 7
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Anderson 63, at Earlham 0
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at North Central (Ill.) 59, Carroll 0
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at UW-La Crosse 63, UW-Stevens Point 27
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Birmingham-Southern 13, at Sewanee 10
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at St. Scholastica 47, Greenville 13
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 20, Minnesota-Morris 17
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La Verne 42, at Whittier 23
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at Chapman 62, Occidental 0
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Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20, at Redlands 10
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at Cal Lutheran 28, Pomona-Pitzer 24
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Oct. 14: All times Eastern
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LaGrange 43, at Greensboro 16
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Oct. 19: All times Eastern
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Martin Luther at Northwestern (Minn.)
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Oct. 13: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 23, Lycoming 16
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Muhlenberg 34, at Thomas More 31
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Brockport 52, at Alfred 0
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at Frostburg State 56, William Paterson 0
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Wesley 54, at Kean 6
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Wittenberg 41, at Allegheny 14
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Trine 50, at Olivet 49
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at Case Western Reserve 37, St. Vincent 7
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Final
Mount Union 77, at Capital 3
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Final
John Carroll 49, at Ohio Northern 17
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Final
Berry 35, at Hendrix 14
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Final
at Washington and Jefferson 50, Geneva 43
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Final
at St. John's 40, St. Thomas 20
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Final
at Washington U. 17, Wheaton (Ill.) 10
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Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 44, Elmhurst 28
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UW-Whitewater 45, at UW-Eau Claire 0
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Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Sul Ross State 27
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Final
at UW-Oshkosh 31, UW-Platteville 10
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Final
at Whitworth 55, Pacific Lutheran 13
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Final
at Linfield 43, Lewis and Clark 26
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 59, Carroll 0
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