March 16, 2010

Football is coming to George Fox

George Fox will be the second Northwest Conference school to add football in a three-year span.

Football is returning to George Fox for the first time since 1968, as the Division III school's board of trustees voted to reinstate the sport effective with the 2013 season in a vote held on March 13.

The Bruins will be the ninth football-playing member of the Northwest Conference, including associate member Menlo, which participates solely in football. Pacific will sponsor football this fall for the first time after having dropped it in 1992.

The school, whose women's basketball program won the Division III national title in 2009 and whose baseball program did the same in 2004, is located in Newberg, Ore., 14 miles from Linfield, 21 miles from Lewis and Clark, and 29 miles from Willamette. George Fox had previously stated a goal of increasing traditional undergraduate student enrollment from 1,700 to 1,825 by 2015.

With a relatively long lead time, no time frame was given for hiring a head coach, an event which would be more than a year away.

Before George Fox plays its first game, Presentation (Aberdeen, S.Dak.) and Stevenson (Stevenson, Md.) will have taken the field in 2011, as well as Finlandia (Hancock, Mich.) in 2012.

Barring schools dropping the sport or leaving Division III, that will bring the number of schools sponsoring Division III football to 243, with 233 eligible for playoff consideration. That will lower the ratio of playoff spots to eligible teams to one for every 7.28, significantly above the Division III ratio of 6.5-to-1. The football playoffs are capped at 32 teams by Division III rule.

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