UMass Athletics:

Recently in FBS, MAC Announcement Category

Over the last several days, UMass Director of Athletics John McCutcheon has spoken to several reporters on the conference search for UMass football, how the transition has been progressing over the last several years, and his overall assessment of the program.

In a lengthy interview with Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican on Wednesday, McCutcheon said he sees many aspects of growth to remain positive about including attendance growth and having games back at McGuirk Stadium this year.

Coverage Of UMass Football Leaving The MAC Following 2015 Season

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette looks at the Mid-American Conference Divisional Alignment which was announced yesterday placing UMass in the East alongside basketball-rival Temple.

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a story on new UMass football coach Charley Molnar and the work he has done over the last three weeks.

Molnar touches on his staff, recruiting, and promoting the program as it enters its first year at the FBS level.

Gazette: New UMass football coach recruiting champions

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Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story focusing on the qualities Charley Molnar is looking for in his new staff and incoming players.

New University of Massachusetts football coach Charley Molnar said he expects the Minutemen to be competitive in the Mid-American Conference quickly.  

As he recruits UMass' first class that will spend its entire career in the Bowl Subdivision, Molnar is telling players that they wouldn't just be serving as a springboard for future players' success.  

"I'm really talking to them about being the foundation of a championship football team. These guys aren't going to be just a step along the way so some group down the road can win a championship," Molnar said. "These guys are coming to the University of Massachusetts to win a championship in their time here. These guys are going to be hoisting a trophy up. That's the absolute plan. That's the vision and that's why they're coming to UMass."  

"One of the things I set out to do was hire a staff where every coach has full-time I-A experience," said Molnar, wearing a maroon dress shirt sitting a conference room in UMass' University Drive football offices. "Some have coached in the MAC and most of the coaches have some BCS experience at the full-time level."

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has an update on MAC teams and their bowl success this year. MAC teams have won three of four bowl games this year following Toledo's win over Air Force last night. Temple and Ohio each won their respective bowls, while Western Michigan lost a close game to Purdue.

Jeff Thomas reveals the Springfield Republican's No. 3 pick for Top 10 Sports Stories of 2011 as being UMass making the jump to the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Mid-American Conference. The complete Top-10 list will be published on Jan. 1 in the Republican.

In an editorial to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Michel Fusia, son of former UMass football head coach Vic Fusia, writes on why the football move to the FBS is a critical one for the success of the University.

Jim Hague of the Daily Record of Morristown, N.J., has a feature on new UMass football coach Charley Molnar. The story recaps Molnar's process in taking the job and what the past few days have been like as he works to assemble his staff, recruit, meet people around campus and prepare to head back to Notre Dame to help coach the Irish in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Molnar excited for opportunity | Daily Record |

Molnar Interview From 98.5 FM The Sports Hub

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New UMass football head coach Charley Molnar was a guest on the Bertrand and Gasper Show on 98.5 FM The Sports Hub in Boston this past Saturday. Check out the audio of the interview below.

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican takes a look at the transition process from the FCS to the FBS level with Charley Molnar at the helm of the UMass football program and the meaning the move will have on the University at the institutional level.

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a piece on Charley Molnar and how he will use the example set by Boise State in transitioning UMass from the FCS level to the FBS level in the coming years.

In making an ambitious transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision as a member of the Mid-American Conference, the University of Massachusetts turned to a man with an equal amount of ambition as its next coach.

The challenge of building a championship-caliber program is daunting, but Notre Dame offensive coordinator Charley Molnar embraced the opportunity when he was introduced yesterday as the Minutemen's 29th coach during a press conference at Gillette Stadium, where UMass will play five home games each of the next two seasons.

"Why did I choose UMass to be the place where I'm going to put the rest of my professional reputation and my career [at stake] - why did I choose to come here?'' asked Molnar.

"UMass has a vision to be greater than what it is today. I wanted to be involved in a program from the ground up. Some people like to be caretakers of college football programs; I've always envisioned myself to be a builder.

Motivational speaking can be a bit of a tightrope.

If it comes off at all oversold or disingenuous, it looks phony. Being a salesman is good. Being a used car salesman is very bad.

But in his first appearance as the coach of the University of Massachusetts football program, Charley Molnar walked that line effectively, getting the most out of his first impression.

The Notre Dame offensive coordinator's energy appeared genuine and more than a little infectious. He's never been a head coach before, but he came off as a polished speaker. Even during the question and answer session, Molnar stayed on message like an experienced campaigner. And while he seemed honored and excited to have the job, he came off very confident that he was the right man for it.

CONTINUE READING: Charley Molnar passes first test at opening press conference | GazetteNET


Congratulations to Charley Molnar for being named the new head coach of the UMass football program yesterday at Gillette Stadium. Tons of coverage today on our newest Minuteman!

Charley Molnar is introduced on Thursday as the next head coach of the UMass football team. Fans can watch the entire archived press conference here:

CBS3 and ABC40 both have coverage here as well:

Coverage of UMass Releasing Kevin Morris

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UMass' news that it was releasing Kevin Morris as head football coach made national headlines yesterday. The Minutemen completed their final year at the FCS level this past season and now turn their attention to moving up to the FBS level as members of the Mid-American Conference.

Boston Globe: Morris out at UMass
Daily Hampshire Gazette: UMass seeks 'momentum' in move to FBS

NBC22 Springfield:

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican looks at the success the Mid-American Conference is having with mid-week games on national television due to the agreement in hand with ESPN. UMass will be a member of the conference starting in 2012.

Chad Cain of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on the University of Massachusetts trustees approving a five-year, $3.1 billion capital plan for the five-campus system.

Some $30 million in improvements to the stadium in Amherst are also moving forward as part of the upgrade by UMass to Bowl Subdivision football. Plans call for a new facilities building, a new press box and other renovations.  

In April, university officials announced that the new football facilities would include construction of a two-story building to house a locker room, a weight room, a sports medicine facility, an equipment room, coaches offices and meeting rooms. It will be built in the north end zone of McGuirk Stadium, where there is currently a small parking lot.  

"This will be a first-class training and administration building for the football team," said spokesman Ed Blaguszewski.
Michael Wood of The Daily Collegian also has a look at UMass' 2012 non-conference schedule which was released earlier this week.

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a story on the 2012 non-conference schedule as well.

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has coverage of UMass' announced 2012 non-conference football schedule which includes a return trip to Michigan in addition to the previously announced games against UConn, Indiana, and Vanderbilt.

Recaps Of UMass' Loss At Boston College

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Boston Globe: UMass Football giving its level best

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Frank Dell'Apa of the Boston Globe has a preview of Saturday's game at Boston College focusing on the confidence built from past performances against FBS programs, including last year's narrow loss at Michigan.

But this is a new era for football at UMass, which will move up to the Bowl Subdivision next season and join the Mid-American Conference. Narrow defeats at Navy (21-20, in 2006), Kansas State (21-17, in 2009), and Michigan (42-37, in 2010) indicate UMass can compete at the next level.  

"In the last two years, in particular those games against Kansas State and Michigan, we certainly had our chances in big-time atmospheres,'' Morris said. "Our players haven't played at Boston College but as a staff we have, and we know what to expect from Boston College football. We'll be ready to go. On paper, they are our best opponent, the strongest team we'll play.  

"If you go by the Michigan, Kansas State, and Navy games, those are good indicators of where you are as a program. I think we're a very competitive program but we still haven't recruited a truly FBS recruiting class. We're going to go out and play and compete with anybody we play against and our goal is to win the game."

Boston Herald: It's showtime for UMass Minutemen

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Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald looks at the impact UMass' game at Boston College will have this weekend in light of the Minutemen's transition to the FBS level. The "introductory" to the Eastern Mass fans will be especially important with the Minutemen's future home being Gillette Stadium beginning next season.

You don't think the stakes are huge this weekend for UMass? Beginning in 2012 and continuing through at least 2013, the Minutemen will be playing their "home" games at Gillette Stadium. This means the Boston sports market will have two competing 1-A football programs.

That makes Saturday's date with Boston College the biggest game of the year. Call it an introductory offer for Boston sports fans. Or, a Whitman Sampler of UMass football. (Better still, and in homage to the UMass administration building, a Whitmore Sampler.)  

We could also call it . . . a statement game.

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican had this story late last week on UMass' transition to the FBS level and the MAC conference with quotes from Athletic Director John McCutcheon.

The move has been met with joy and a little bit of sorrow, most fans excited about the step up in competition on a weekly basis, but some upset that all the home games for the next two years will be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, home of the New England Patriots. 

"It's going very well, we're up over 800 new season tickets and most of those are early anticipation of next year,'' UMass director of athletics John McCutcheon said. "Our renewal rate is over 80 percent and that was three weeks ago for this season. 

"Folks are excited about it, the response we've had in regards to our scheduling of FBS games has gone very well and we're just excited about what has happened with UMass football,'' he added.


Globe: Mind games facing UMass

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Nicole Auerbach of the Boston Globe has a feature today on UMass' transition to the FBS and the Mid-American Conference and the mindset being used by the players and coaches.

Head Coach Kevin Morris said his players will take a one-game-at-a-time approach to the season, which begins tonight at Holy Cross.  

Sophomore tight end Rob Blanchflower said he and his teammates have broken down their season into smaller goals, too.  "Even though we can't play for a CAA championship, we can play to be the best offensive [team] in the country, be the best defense in the country,'' he said. "Shut teams out, put up points, knock people out of the playoffs. We have a very competitive attitude.''

Together We're One Tour Heads To Tewksbury

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UMass football head coach Kevin Morris will be on hand to speak with UMass fans on Sept. 8 as the Together We're One Tour heads to the 99 Restaurant in Tewksbury. The event is being held in conjunction with the Merrimack Valley Alumni Club and UMass Athletics.

The event begins at 6 PM with Coach Morris scheduled to speak at 7 PM followed by a Q&A session. The events from the summer were outstanding and a great time was had by all!

To register for the free event, click here. At the 99 Restaurant, the event will be held in a private room, so look for the UMass Banners.
Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican previews the 2011 football season taking a look at the offense, defense and special teams and the meaning the team has found in the transition to the FBS.

What's in a transitional year? That's a good question for the University of Massachusetts football team. 

The 2011 season will be the last for the Minutemen in the Colonial Athletic Association and the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision as they transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Mid-American Conference. 

UMass will play 11 games this season, no more and no less. There will be no CAA championship to play for, there will be no FCS playoffs as a goal.

Kerri Fleming of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has a story today on the mindset of the UMass football team going into its final season as a member of the Football Championship Subdivision and the CAA.

"There's really nothing that needs to be said. Everybody's on the same page. We all know what this year means to the university. It's a big transition year. It's a big year to leave the CAA on a good note," said defensive lineman Brandon Potvin, a redshirt sophomore and former Holy Name star from Worcester.


Fitchburg S&E: Minutemen Ready For Jump To FBS

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Matt Stewart of the Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise has a feature on the UMass football team previewing the 2011 season while also looking ahead to next year's move to FBS and the Mid-American Conference.

Senior tailback Jonathan Hernandez will have one of the team goals his senior season altered. Because of the move to the FBS, the 2011 season will be a transition period, in which the Minutemen will play a full FCS schedule, but will not be elligible for postseason play.  

"I'm excited for the younger kids, because they are moving on to the MAC," Hernandez said. "I'm really excited for them, but I'm just excited to play this season. I don't think that affects any of us on the team at all. We like to compete and Coach Morris stresses that all the time. We're taking every game like its our last game."

"I came here to get a natinoal championship ring," Leominster native Rob Blanchflower said. "Now that we're moving up, I don't have that opportunity but I do have the opportunity to play in a bowl game. Being in a bowl game, playing in front of bigger crowds, that's pretty incredible."

WWLP: UMass Football Moving Up A Division

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John McCutcheon Talks About FBS, MAC Move

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On Tuesday, UMass Athletic Director John McCutcheon attended Mid-American Conference Media Day at Ford Field in Detroit. The Minutemen begin the transition to the Bowl Subdivision this season, play a full FBS and MAC schedule in 2012, and will be eligible for post-season play in 2013.

The Springfield Republican has coverage of McCutcheon's Media Day.

Both UMass and Indiana announced on Wednesday that the two football programs will meet on Sept. 8, 2012 in what will be the home opener for the Minutemen at Gillette Stadium that season. It will be UMass' first season of playing a full FBS and MAC schedule and be the first time it hosts a FBS team at Gillette. UMass will make a return trip to Bloomington in 2017.

  • Hampshire Gazette: Minutemen line up Indiana for first Bow Subdivision game at Gillette
  • Springfield Republican: UMass football will host Indiana Sept. 8, 2012 at Gillette Stadium
  • 1070 The Fan: Indiana releases football schedules through 2014

  • The Telegram & Gazette has a look at last night's Together We're One Tour stop in Worcester at the Banner Bar & Grille.

    As with the other tour stops, coach Morris spoke to the fans about the move to FBS, the joining of the MAC in 2012, and playing in Gillette Stadium.

    "Can you imagine Penn State's Joe Paterno or Alabama's Nick Saban going out to rub elbows with the little people? The UMass tour is definitely unique.

    Among those who were on hand or stopped by to say hello were Steven Gentilucci, who played at WPI under Morris; former Auburn High football coach Paul Fenton; ex-WPI head coach Ed Zaloom; former record-breaking WPI quarterback Mike Riccio, and Mike Wynn of Grafton, an offensive lineman on UMass' 1998 national championship team.

    Also in the crowd was ex-UMass kicker Matt Goldstein, now the color commentator for the Minutemen's radio broadcasts. He is also manager of the Walgreen's store on Park Avenue.

    "I'm ecstatic about (joining the BCS)," said Goldstein, who is also P.A. announcer for UMass basketball and hockey. "It's a great opportunity. UMass is the state university of Massachusetts, and this is a step in the right direction." 
    Join us on Wednesday night in Worcester for another stop of the Together We're One Tour. The event begins at 6 PM at the Banner Bar & Grill on Green Street. It is a free event with a cocktail hour followed by comments and a question-and-answer session from head coach Kevin Morris about the football program.

    Together We're One Tour Hits Providence Tonight

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    The UMass football Together We're One Tour hits Providence tonight with an alumni get-together at Bo's Bar & Billiards starting at 5:30 PM.

    This is a free event where you can meet up with fellow alums and hear all the news about UMass' move up to the FBS and the MAC.


    Together We're One Tour Hits Boston Tonight!

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    The Together We're One Tour will head to Boston tonight for a free event at the UMass Club from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. We hope to see you all out there. Matt Vautour had some insight on the event in today's Daily Hampshire Gazette.

    MARKETING FOR THE FUTURE - Morris will be a featured guest as part of Maroon Night tonight at the UMass Club, 225 Franklin St. in Boston.

    Anyone interested in attending may register online at

    It's the fourth of five "Together We're One" events designed to help promote the upgraded football program.

    "The outpouring of support has been outstanding. We expect more of the same Thursday," Morris said.

    UMass athletic director John McCutcheon said the summer event tour is just the beginning of increased marketing efforts by the department in connection with the football upgrade.

    "We'll start to gear up the campaign to make people aware and increase season tickets. We have a lot of work ahead of us for sure. We need to get people excited and get down to the business of preparing for 2012," McCutcheon said. "We'll be doing a number of different things. We're looking at anything and everything. We're looking at advertising campaigns, special market campaigns. We're out meeting with various groups around the state and the response has been very positive."

    Matt Vautour has an extended look at some of UMass' future scheduling of non-conference opponents for Gillette in 2012 and beyond. He also has a piece on the hiring of Malik Hall, a 2003 alum, as the new defensive line coach.

    Together We're One Tour Hits Boston This Thursday

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    We invite you to come join coach Kevin Morris this Thursday night at the UMass Club in Boston as the Together We're One Tour will be a part of Maroon Night. The fantastic evening will feature music, trivia, and raffles along with plenty of football talk.

    There will also be a beer tasting provided by the Berkshire Brewing Company.

    Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a recruiting update on this morning about how the move to the MAC and the FBS has influenced UMass' recruiting.

    Thomas' story also has a link to the complete fall schedule for the MAC.
    The Mid-American Conference announced that Dr. Jon Steinbrecher's contract as League Commissioner will be extended for two additional years through 2015-16.

    Steinbrecher began as Commissioner in May of 2009 with an original five-year contract meaning the league Council of Presidents have voted to extend him just two years into his original agreement.

    Charlotte Looking To Join CAA As Football Member

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    The Charlotte 49ers are currently seeking a home for its new football program which will officially hold its first season in 2013. Athletics Director Judy Rose told the Charlotte Observer that talks with the Southern Conference and Big South did not pan out, but that the CAA was certainly an option following UMass' move to the MAC and Villanova's desire to join the Big East.

    Geographically, with the addition of Georgia State and Old Dominion to the league, Charlotte seems like a good fit.

    The UMass Football Together We're One Tour has added another date and venue to the schedule. Fans in the Worcester area will now have a chance to meet and greet with head coach Kevin Morris to discuss the upcoming season and the move to FBS and the MAC. 

    Be sure to come out to the Banner Bar and Grille on June 29 from 6-8 PM. There will will be a light appetizer buffet and a cash bar.


    June 17 - Cape Cod (Yarmouthport, Mass.)
    16th Annual UMass Scholarship Golf Tournament, starts at 8:30 a.m.

    June 23 - Boston, UMass Club
    Maroon Night at The University of Massachusetts Club from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

    June 27 - Providence, R.I.
    Alumni Meet-Up at Bo's Bar & Billiards from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

    June 29 - Worcester, Mass.
    Banner Bar & Grille from 6:00-8:00 PM

    L.A. Times: Five-A-Side With Kevin Morris

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    The L.A. Times picked up a piece done by The Sports Network on UMass football's move up to FBS, the "Together We're One Tour", and a look at the program overall. Included is a substantial Q&A with head coach Kevin Morris.

    Yahoo Sports On UMass Football Tour

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    Check out alum Taurus Londono's story on UMass Football Tour a Reintroduction for Alumni.

    My alma mater the University of Massachusetts recently held the first of five public events intended to spread the word about the football program's move to the FBS. The "Together We Are One Tour" kicked off at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston this past Tuesday, and the free event offered alumni like me the opportunity for some valuable face time with Minutemen coach Kevin Morris. The tour will unfold throughout the summer at locations throughout New England, the next stop in New York City on May 26th.

    Masslive Football Notebook On Tour, MAC Foes

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    Now that the decision has been made, it's time for the selling to begin.

    Dubbed the Together We're One Tour, UMass football is hitting the road to talk up its move to the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Mid-American Conference, beginning Tuesday at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston.

    Other stops include New York City (May 26), Cape Cod (June 17), Boston again (June 223) and Providence, R.I. (June 27).

    Speaking of the MAC, the Minutemen have faced just three of the 13 teams in the MAC the way it is currently structured.

    UMass is 1-1 against Ball State, the 1984 victory the last win for the Minutemen over an FBS opponent.

    UMass is 5-4 against Buffalo but all those wins came before the Bulls made the jump to FBS.

    The Minutemen are 1-2 against Toledo, last playing the Rockets in 1999, the year after winning the national championship.

    Check out this fine story on Kent State's new coach Darrell Hazell from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Sounds as if the former Ohio State wide receivers coach has his work cut out for him.

    One interesting note is is the guarantee the Golden Flashes will receive for facing Alabama this season - a mouth-watering $1.2 million.

    Masslive With Two Features On UMass Football

    | 11 Comments | No TrackBacks has two more feature pieces on the UMass football move to the FBS level and the MAC. Check them out here including a video tour of McGuirk Stadium.

    • Video tour of McGuirk Stadium, home of UMass football for at least one more year

    Business West Features On UMass Football Upgrade

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    Business West has a pair of stories on UMass football and its upgrade to FBS and MAC. 

    • UMass Football: A Risk Worth Taking

    Every king needs a castle. And now that the UMass football team will soon be playing at the highest level of college football, it only makes sense for them to have a home that will allow it to compete at the highest level.

    Welcome to the new UMass football headquarters, located on the campus of the University of Massachusetts near McGuirk Stadium where the team currently plays its home games.

    Upon the announcement of the university's plans to upgrade it's football program to the Football Bowl Subdivision, it was revealed that the team would --- for the foreseeable future --- play its home games at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro when things became official in 2012.

    The Minutemen's home in between those games will be the new HQ, which you can take a virtual tour of in the gallery below.

    • After FBS announcement, UMass unveils new football headquarters

    Responding to a freedom of information request from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, UMass released its new contracts cementing its recent agreements to join the Mid-American Conference and play home games at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Both were essential components to the program's upgrade to Bowl Subdivision football.

    • UMass releases contract details of football upgrade

    Stories On The UMass Football Spring Game

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    The defense topped the offense 44-42 at the annual UMass Football Spring Game. Here are several stories and videos on the game.

    • Springfield Republican: UMass transfer quarterback Kellen Pagel has spring in his step

    • Springfield Republican: It will be up to the UMass team to supply its own meaning to 2011

    • WWLP NBC 22: UMass spring football game

    UMass spring football game:

    Gazette Preview Of UMass Football Spring Game

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    The Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on Saturday's Spring Football Events, read about it here: UMass football plays spring game Saturday at McGuirk

    Saturday's annual University of Massachusetts spring football game will have some added events after last week's announcement that the school was upgrading its program to the Bowl Subdivision.

    In addition to the 4 p.m. game at McGuirk Stadium, there's a 1 p.m. tour of the program's new offices in the Slobody Building at 101 University Drive. Members of the 100 Yard Club, a UMass booster club, can meet coaches and players at 3 p.m. prior to the spring game and eat with them at a barbecue afterward.

    There will be an autograph session for anyone after the spring game.

    UMass coach Kevin Morris said he was pleased with his team's progression this spring.

    "It's been good. We've got a good group of guys," Morris said. "Guys have really taken it seriously and set a high standard."

    Gazette Editorial Supports UMass' Football Move

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    The Daily Hampshire Gazette has an editorial supporting the move of UMass football to the FBS ranks and games at Gillette Stadium. Here are some key points:

    It appears they jumped, wisely, at an opportunity that had never taken quite this form, or been this attractive. At the same time, the ground from which they leap - the lower level of Championship Subdivision (FCS) play - was falling away around their feet. Two former competitors in Championship Subdivision are gone and a third is lowering its program out of the Colonial Athletic Association.

    If you love your Minutemen, may we suggest a carpool?

    In the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Matt Vautour has a column on the move of UMass to FBS and playing its games at Gillette Stadium. He explains the reasoning behind it. Read it here

     I'm not good at snap judgments. But after several days, here's what I've come up with.

    I don't know if the University of Massachusetts playing Bowl Subdivision football in Foxborough is going to work. But I think it's worth a shot because it's the best option UMass has.

    Realistically, if UMass wants to move up, it had to happen in Foxborough. Gillette offers a shiny new stadium that recruits are going to want to play in.

    If UMass hadn't moved up, moving backward might eventually have been the only choice as the status quo isn't going to be an option for much longer. Championship level FCS football in the Northeast is dying. The CAA is clearly becoming a southern-based conference. Old Dominion and Georgia State were added ahead of Fordham, shifting the league's latitude even lower and the price of travel even higher.

    NBC22 Follow-Up On UMass Move To Gillette

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    After years of debate and speculation. UMass is moving its football team up to the FBS, formerly called Divisioin I -A  With that move comes another, UMass will play its future home games in Foxborough. "I'm glad to see them make it finally where they should be", says Amherst's Al Ohlson.  Watch the full story from NBC22.

    "Home" field advantage?:

    NBC 30 in Hartford, Connecticut has a  look at the potential rivalry between UMass and UConn being re-ignited with the Minutemen's move to the FBS level. Read about it here: 

    At the beginning of the month, as the men's basketball team was preparing for Final Four foe Kentucky, we wrote about the long history between the two coaches. Jim Calhoun and John Calipari go way back, to the early '90s when Calipari was then the UMass coach.

    The Minutemen were gaining in national prominence, thanks largely to Calipari. According to the Boston Globe's Mark Blaudschun, Calipari once remarked that "We will play anyone, anywhere, anytime,'" presumably in an effort to get the Huskies on the schedule.

    Calhoun's response at the time: "Calipari said he plays a national schedule, so obviously he doesn't need us. We play Kansas and Duke, and we think those are pretty good teams. We're happy with who we are playing now."

    The Huskies got the last laugh, defeating the Wildcats in the Final Four two days before winning their third national championship.

    Now it appears there will be another means for renewing this rivalry. Last week, UMass announced that the football program is moving to the FBS and joining the MAC conference beginning in 2012. One problem, though: some fans are worried that UMass' new status could hurt UConn's recruiting efforts.

    The response from's Brian Bennett during a recent Q & A:

    "I wouldn't worry too much about the recruiting aspect. UMass might pose more competition for players in the Northeast, but if you can't outrecruit the MAC as a school in an [automatic qualifier] league, you've got much bigger problems. This might have been more of a concern for the Huskies if Randy Edsall were still the coach, since his recruiting philosophy centered around under-the-radar players. But Paul Pasqualoni was hired in large part for his ability to connect with high school coaches and recruit high-caliber players. If that's true, he shouldn't lose out to UMass on many prospects.

    Great points, all of them, and the Hartford Courant's Desmond Connor agrees, writing that "Until the program upgrades those facilities and becomes part of a BCS conference it poses no real threat to UConn anywhere."

    Bennett adds an interesting footnote: "UMass-UConn is a natural rivalry, though I don't think the Huskies should accept a home-and-home series. A 2-for-1 is a better deal for them."

    This also makes sense; UMass would get more out of hosting UConn than the other way around. For now, anyway.

    Tuesday's Stories On UMass' Move To FBS, MAC

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    The national story of UMass' elevation to the FBS and MAC continue to generate media attention. Here's a look at several stories on Tuesday.

    • Berkshire Eagle: Smart move for UMass, region
    • Attleboro Sun-Chronicle: Good news for UMass and Foxboro

    UMass: Krafting a better football team 

    April 25, 2011

    Patriots' owner Robert Kraft deserves credit for bringing more big-time college football to New England when he struck a deal that allows the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to play all their home games rent-free at Gillette Stadium starting in 2012. Having the high-class Foxborough facility as a home field enables UMass to join the Division I Mid-American Conference and lure bowl-bound football powers onto its schedule.

    The move is already building excitement among UMass graduates, for whom Saturdays in Foxborough could be a great bonding experience, and it could pay off for the university in some other respects, too. If Massachusetts residents come to see the UMass team as an expression of Bay State pride, it will help build greater political and community support for the state's leading public university.

    Welcome as the UMass ascent to collegiate football's Mt. Olympus may be, policymakers should be aware that the costs in athletic scholarships and expanded coaching staffs will be considerable. UMass anticipates that its football expenditure will jump from $4.4 million in 2010 to $6.9 million for the 2013 season. Purely as an economic venture, or as a means of enhancing a university's national standing, a top-tier football program is no panacea -- and certainly no substitute for enhanced academic resources.

    But pride doesn't come with a pricetag, and watching UMass match up against national powerhouses will provide an extra point of identity to fans of the sometimes neglected university -- that is, as long as the Minutemen make a good showing on the field.

    © Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.

    We break down UMass' move to the FBS from all angles -- from the nuts and bolts, to players' reactions.

    Hear from UMass-Amherst's chancellor, Gillette Stadium owner Robert Kraft, and MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher on the Minutemen's move.

    Plus, head coach Kevin Morris and some of his players react to it.

    How does it affect students? Hear from a few of them.

    The Attleboro Sun-Chronicle has an opinion piece on UMass' football move to FBS and the MAC as the Minutemen will be playing its home games at Gillette Stadium. Read the piece that wraps up with the following:

    For the area, well-attended football games next fall could mean significant revenue, and, yes, more traffic on area roads. But after years of handling pro football crowds, we're confident that local authorities are more than prepared to deal with college game day fans.

    If there was ever a win-win, we think that this is it.

    Republican Follow-Up On UMass Facility Upgrades

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    In the Springfield Republican, Ron Chimelis has a story on the upgrades to McGuirk Stadium and how UMass will return to play several games at McGuirk Stadium starting in 2014. "We are in a transitional period. By 2014, the plan is to have an upgraded campus facility that could host some games,'' Athletic Director John McCutcheon said.

    Berkshire Eagle On UMass' Upgrade To FBS, MAC

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    The Berkshire Eagle has a follow-up story on UMass football elevation to the FBS and the MAC. Howard Herman takes a look at the team and its future. "There's always pressure to win," Morris said. "We were 6-5 last year with a couple of losses that were heartbreakers -- they were 'woulda, shoulda, coulda.' We have to come back off that and whether we're playing in the CAA or the SEC or now with the MAC, coming into 2012, you've got to win. There's no secret there."

    Attleboro Sun Chronicle On UMass' Move To Gillette

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    The Attleboro Sun-Chronicle has a story on the impact of UMass moving its home games to Gillette Stadium as part of the upgrade to FBS and joining the MAC. 
    The University of Massachusetts athletic department put plans for its new football facilities on display Friday in the program's temporary offices in the Slobody Building on University Drive. The plans are part of the upgrade by UMass to Bowl Subdivision football. The two-story building will house a locker room, a weight room, a sports medicine facility, an equipment room, coaches offices and meeting rooms. It will be built in the north end zone of McGuirk Stadium, where there is currently a small parking lot. Read the full story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette:  UMass unveils plan for new football facility, press box at McGuirk Stadium.

    C. Michigan AD Talks UMass Football Joining The MAC

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    The Morning Sun in Central Michigan has a Q&A Session with Central Michigan Athletic Director Dave Heeke. Here are his answers in regards to UMass' addition to the MAC.

    DE: On Wednesday, UMass officially joined the Mid-American Conference for football. Talk about your initial thoughts on UMass joining the conference?

    DH: I think it is very positive for our league. Obviously we had an odd number of teams in football and we had to address that. We talked about that for several years in terms of how to attack that and how to address that. The addition of UMass was one of the better options that was on the table.

    This will only help us in scheduling. Not just in conference scheduling, but in overall scheduling. It will give us in the MAC more consistency in our scheduling so we can plan out more long term, so that is a positive as well.

    UMass brings great tradition and is a very strong program. Football is important at UMass and that is a big component. This move also helps stretch our league to the Northeast a little bit more with Buffalo, Temple, and UMass. From an exposure standpoint, there is value in that. We are excited about having them in the league. I am very positive on the overall addition.

    Conference expansion and adding teams is a complicated deal normally, and now with the added uncertainties of leagues and the unknowns that are out there, that even complicates it more. For us to get a team and help solidify Temple in the conference as well, for our league that gives us good balance.

    DE: How does this move impact other sports in the MAC and is UMass expected to meet certain expectations in terms of schedule outside of football?

    DH: Contractually we have agreed with them to play basketball on a yearly basis, where they will face two different MAC opponents each year. So, there will be an equal rotation of that and that mirrors the Temple agreement. The opportunity to have our basketball programs on the men's and women's side compete against UMass will be good. That will help the basketball programs.

    As we continue to build relationships, there may be opportunities for other scheduling alignments with other sports. Again, in many other sports they are locked in with different leagues. This is about football first and a small basketball scheduling component. But, any time you spend more time with folks you have the opportunity to expand relationships and work together in other areas.

    I think we can build some scheduling alliances through the relationships that UMass and Temple have with other schools. Those relationships can help other sports. We are looking at those relationships.

    DE: What is the next step with this addition process now that UMass and the MAC have agreed to the partnership?

    DH: The next step for us as athletic directors is to sit down and look at the divisional alignments and figure things out and put everything out on the table. We need to find a divisional system that works for everyone the best it can.

    The key is aligning those rival games in similar divisions. When you have rival games that are crossing over divisions, that complicates things for everyone. There is not an equal rotation and we have had that for many years.

    We really have not talked about the divisional stuff much. We wanted to make sure we were solid as a league first and that we got to the 14 number. Now we can look at what best serves the league from a divisional standpoint. And, you know what? We may have different divisions for different sports or different alignments for different sports. Maybe we won't even have divisions in certain sports again. Some of those things may happen.

    The division alignment needs to get in place relatively soon and we need to tweak the scheduling model because UMass joins the league in 2012. While they won't be eligible for postseason play that year, they will be a counting member on everyone's schedule and an active part in the league.
    Here are various stories from Friday that touch on UMass' elevation to FBS and the MAC

    • CBS 3 Springfield: UMass in FBS Adds Up
    • The New Hampshire: Rival UMass bolts to FBS

    Gazette With Players' Perspective On Move To FBS

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    The Daily Hampshire Gazette has this story on the players' perspective on the move to FBS and the MAC.

    After Wednesday's press conference, all talk about the University of Massachusetts football program naturally revolved around its future. But lost in the chatter and debate about Gillette Stadium, the Mid-American Conference, bowl games and exciting potential nonconference opponents were any thoughts about the present. 

    Football Media Coverage On Move To FBS, MAC

    Here are various stories on UMass' elevation to the FBS and MAC.

    • Sporting News: UMass To The MAC
    • Boston Globe: Kraft rose to occasion
    • Boston Herald UMass moves up to FBS
    • Hartford Courant: UMass Makes Move To FBS Official
    • Attleboro Sun-Chronicle: Kraft: UMass to be boon
    • College Football Talk: MAC officially adds UMass as newest member
    • ABC40: McGuirk No More

    Here are video interviews from the event: