INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Marist football team, which is in its fourth season as a member of the Pioneer Football League (PFL), will have the opportunity to earn an automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs beginning in 2013.
The FCS playoffs will be expanding from 20 to 24 teams next year. The addition of four teams includes an automatic berth to the PFL champion for the first time, as well as three more at-large bids. The other 10 conferences with automatic qualifiers include the Big Sky Conference, Big South Conference, CAA Football, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Missouri Valley Football Conference, Northeast Conference, Ohio Valley Conference, Patriot League, Southern Conference and Southland Conference.
"Having the Pioneer Football League champion automatically qualify for the FCS Playoffs is hugely important to our teams," said PFL commissioner Patty Viverito. "This opportunity seemed a distant hope just one year ago, but will become a reality when the FCS bracket expands to 24 teams in 2013."
The top eight teams in the field will be seeded, and will earn first-round byes. The NCAA announced that the other 16 teams would bid to host first-round games, and that geography and travel costs will help determine the committee's pairings in the bracket.
The PFL will expand from 10 to 12 teams in 2013, as Mercer and Stetson will join the league.
"This is a huge step for the league," Marist Head Coach Jim Parady said. "We're going to have a chance to participate in the FCS playoffs."
Information from NCAA.com and The Sports Network was used in this report.
The Marist football team, which opens its season on Saturday, Sept. 1 at Bryant, is in its second week of preseason camp. The Red Foxes will be hosting intrasquad scrimmages on Saturday, Aug. 18 and Thursday, Aug. 23 at approximately 9 a.m. Single-game and season tickets are on sale, and be purchased online at GoRedFoxes.com.