Franklin Pierce, America’s 14th president, served a four-year term in office. Franklin Pierce University’s sprint football program did not last much longer.
Just two weeks into the season, the Ravens, who have been a member since 2013, are officially no longer a part of the Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL).
In a joint statement released earlier today, the CSFL and the school announced that, because of its looming transition to becoming a full-fledged Division II program, the games that it has already played in the CSFL will not count and it will be altering its remaining schedule.
Cornell and Army have already canceled their upcoming games against the Ravens and Penn will follow suit as soon as the decision becomes official.
“We said we were going to officially cancel the game,” coach Bill Wagner said.
The obstacle preventing Franklin Pierce from completing its final season in the CSFL involves personnel. Over the past year, the team has recruited only D-II caliber players, so this season they are not able to field a roster made up of players who qualify under the 178-pound limit that is the defining characteristic of sprint football.
“They recruited 20-plus scholar-athletes some of which were over 250 pounds, some of those kids played in the first game of the season,” Wagner said.
It simply would not have been fair or safe for Franklin Pierce to continue to play against physically smaller opponents, even though the Ravens lost 45-7 to Navy despite the weight advantage. The difference in weight between players certainly factored into the decisions of CSFL teams canceling their games against the Ravens.
For the Quakers, the decision to cancel their game against Franklin Pierce, which would have been played on Saturday, Nov. 3, was easy.
“It’s a meaningless game, it should never have been scheduled, they’re in the other division,” Wagner said. “Why would we want to play Franklin Pierce when they’re leaving the league to go play Division II football?”
Cost may have also been a factor in the Quakers deciding to cancel their game against the Ravens. Travel and lodging for an away game in New Hampshire would have been extremely costly.
Wagner also did not think it was fair to the league for Franklin Pierce to even begin the season and he made his voice heard before the season even began.
“I voted against them staying in the league,” Wagner said. “They should have been let go right away.”
So what will the CSFL look like next season without the Ravens?
The answer is that it will not be much different from years past. While the league will finish out this season with only nine teams vying for the championship, next year it will add Alderson Broaddus, a school in West Virginia, to the mix.
One change that this may cause, however, is a shuffling of divisions, with a team from the South potentially being moved into the North. According to the geographical standards by which the divisions in the CSFL are made, Mansfield, which is located in northern Pennsylvania, seems likely replace Franklin Pierce in the North division.
As for the Quakers, Franklin Pierce’s departure will give them an extra bye week before a potential trip to Canton, Ohio for the CSFL title game. The absence of their final regular season game should not affect them much as they continue to focus on bringing home the CSFL title.
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