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49ers add big fish to football schedule for '19
The Charlotte 49ers made their biggest football scheduling announcement yet Wednesday … but it’s eight years away from happening.
Charlotte will open its 2019 season against Virginia Tech in the Hokies’ Lane Stadium. The announcement comes on the heels of Charlotte scheduling Furman of the Southern Conference in 2014 and ‘15, as well as three other home games for the program’s inaugural season of 2013 (Chowan, UNC Pembroke and North Greenville).
Virginia Tech is the first NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision team Charlotte has scheduled.
The announcement came at a 49ers’ football forum on campus. A few other highlights:
Athletics director Judy Rose said she has been in contact with the Big South, Southern Conference and Colonial Athletic Association about joining as an associate member for football.
Rose said the 49ers’ intent to eventually move to FBS from the Football Championship Subdivision has complicated efforts to join an FCS league on what would be a temporary basis.
Charlotte must remain in FCS a minimum of two years by NCAA rules. Chancellor Phil Dubois said at the forum the transition will be gradual.
Rose said she wants to keep Charlotte in the Atlantic 10 in all other sports. That makes sense for sports such as men’s basketball, because the A-10 has a higher profile than the Big South, Southern or CAA in that sport (its RPI is higher this season than any of those three) and routinely more likely to get more than one bid to the NCAA tournament.
“I don’t want to demean these other conferences, but we don’t want to intentionally hurt our basketball program with this move to football,” she said.
Rose said she wants to have a coach hired by April 1. Groundbreaking for the 15,000-seat on-campus stadium is scheduled for April 28. The stadium won’t have lights initially, but they could be added at a cost of about $800,000.
Seat license sales for football continue to crawl. The 49ers have sold 3,357 (the number has hovered around 3,000 for several months), for a total of $4.15million. Seventeen donors have pledged a total of $1.82million toward the program. Rose said naming rights will be sold for the stadium, the field and the field house.
There’s a chance the stadium will also be used for high school football games. (It will have artificial turf.) Dubois said the school might pursue hosting the Shrine Bowl.
Rose said additional women’s sports (to comply with football-driven Title IX requirements) will begin to be added in 2016. Look for sports with large rosters like lacrosse and field hockey to be added.
49ers add big fish to football schedule for ‘19
By David Scott, The Charlotte Observer