Thursday, July 25, 2013

Charlotte 49ers add football series with JMU

The Charlotte 49ers made it official Thursday, announcing they had replaced Old Dominion on their football schedule with a two-game series against James Madison.

The 49ers will play the Dukes -- the 2004 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision national champions -- on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. in Harrisonburg, Va., and Oct. 25, 2014, in Richardson Stadium.

The 49ers picked up JMU after their series with Old Dominion fell by the wayside the past few weeks. The Monarchs first canceled a scheduled game at Charlotte in 2014, with the 49ers returning the favor by pulling out of this season's game in Norfolk. ODU has since replaced those games with one against Campbell this season and one at Vanderbilt in 2014.

The 49ers originally wanted to cancel the series last fall, after ODU announced it was moving from the FCS to Conference USA in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2014. Charlotte, which had already said it was making the move to C-USA in 2015, didn't feel it was ready to play ODU yet. But the Monarchs didn't want to cancel the series at that time. That apparently changed when a "guarantee" game against the SEC's Vanderbilt became available.

Charlotte athletics director Judy Rose gave her version of the events with ODU in a statement:

"ODU was made aware that we planned to cancel the 2013 game within days of receiving their letter cancelling our 2014 home game," Rose said. "While it is true that there were discussions in the fall of 2012 about cancelling this series, ODU was opposed, so we chose to honor the original agreement. When ODU sought to take advantage of an opportunity with Vanderbilt, however, and cancel their trip to Charlotte, we saw it in our best interest to cancel what had become, in effect, a one-and-done road game."

C-USA commissioner Brittain Banowsky was brought in to try and help Charlotte and ODU solve the scheduling problem, but was unable to do so.

"I was asked to try and make sure that they had good communications," Banowsky told the Virginian-Pilot at the league football media day Wednesday in Irving, Texas. "It's really a relationship, a contractual relationship, between the two schools. It's a business call. It happens all the time, in terms of people changing schedules. It's very rare that it happens this close to the start of the season."

ODU -- which had already taken Charlotte off the 2013 schedule it released at Wednesday's media day -- announced its scheduling changes with Campbell and Vanderbilt later that day. According to the Virginian-Pilot, Campbell had to move a game with Pioneer League opponent Davidson in order to play ODU. ODU reportedly paid Davidson $50,000 to make the switch.

"We chose not to make a statement until after Conference USA media day, out of respect for the commissioner and the league," said Rose.

-- Charlotte coach Brad Lambert and JMU's Mickey Matthews are close friends and were assistants together in the 1990s at Marshall and Georgia. 49ers strength coach Jim Durning came to Charlotte from James Madison.

-- The 49ers picked up a verbal commitment Thursday from Independence wide receiver Workpeh Kofa. He also had offers from Appalachian State, Toledo and Louisville.


Anonymous said...

Kofa is a great 3-star recruit with offers from App and Louisville. Recruiting talented local players could really help to build a fan base as well as a strong team.

Anonymous said...

Where's the guy claiming JMU would never schedule us now? What was it, "You must have them confused with JCSU!"? Who exactly was confused?

Anonymous said...

Glad to see the Niners take the high road and not engage in ODUesque skullduggery.

Anonymous said...

Of course JMU would throw us on the schedule. They are gonna blow us out both years and then go to the Sun Belt with App where they both will talk trash and steal our recruits.

Anonymous said...

Do not feed this troll!

Anonymous said...

LOL at the app fans. App is a borderline community college, a place where dreams of success go to die. I would love to schedule the Appy's, but only if they agreed to a Home-Away-Home. Lower tiered "schools" such as App should learn their place, and be honored that Charlotte would even talk to them.

Anonymous said...

Or this troll, either.