Sacred Heart Opts to Play as FCS Independent in 2024

Sacred Heart will play an independent FCS schedule for the 2024 season as the school continues to assess its football affiliation options as first reported in mid-January and later confirmed by Craig Haley. The Pioneers previously announced they are leaving the Northeast Conference to join the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) beginning with the 2024-25 academic year.

As of this posting, Sacred Heart has only two opponents scheduled for 2024 with road games against Delaware (9/28) and Lafayette (10/19). The school will reveal all of its 2024 opponents at a later date.

With SHU’s departure, the NEC ostensibly did not see fit to keep the Pioneers (or Merrimack who is also leaving for the MAAC) as a football-only affiliate. The same fate befell Robert Morris, who departed the NEC as a full member in 2020 to join the Horizon League. The NEC was not willing to keep RMU as an affiliate and the Colonials joined the Big South for football. The fences between the NEC and RMU were mended as the Colonials will return as a football-only member of the NEC beginning with the 2024 season.

The MAAC doesn’t currently sponsor football although it did as recently as the 2007 season. Following a succession of members discontinuing football, the MAAC opted to drop the sport as well. Only one other full MAAC member – Marist – has a football team with the Red Foxes competing in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League. The MAAC operated as a non-scholarship conference, which drove some members out of the league.

Photo Credit to Sacred Heart University Athletics

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