Pioneer Football League

Pioneer Football League

Infobox Athletic Conference
name = Pioneer Football League
short_name =
established = 1991

logo_size = 180
association = NCAA
division = Division I
subdivision = FCS
members = 10
sports = 1 (football)
mens = 1
womens = 0
region = Nationwide
former_names =
hq_city = St. Louis
hq_stateabb = MO
hq_state = Missouri
commissioner = Patty Viverito
since = 1994
website =
color = 654321
font_color = FFFFFF

map_size = 250

The Pioneer Football League is a college athletic conference which operates literally from coast to coast in the United States. It has member schools that range from North Carolina and Florida in the east to California in the west. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) as a football-only conference. Unlike most other Division I FCS conferences, the Pioneer League consists of institutions which choose not to award athletic scholarships ("grants-in-aid") to football players. PFL teams are eligible to compete in the FCS Playoffs, but only as an at-large as the conference does not receive an automatic berth. Currently the league champion plays the champion of the Northeast Conference in the Gridiron Classic.



Following an NCAA rule change passed in January 1991, which required Division I schools to conduct all sports at the Division I level by 1993, the conference was formed by charter members Butler University, the University of Dayton, Drake University, the University of Evansville, and Valparaiso University. The University of San Diego joined in 1992, and the league played its first season in 1993. These six schools had previously sponsored football at the Division II and Division III levels. The league was narrowed back to five members after the University of Evansville dropped football in 1997.


However, in 2001, the conference nearly doubled in size and was reorganized with the five current members forming the North Division, and newcomers Austin Peay State University, Davidson College, Jacksonville University and Morehead State University forming the South Division. This reorganization also spawned a new championship system in which the best record holders from each division would play in a title game for the conference championship.


On April 8, 2005, Austin Peay announced that it would be leaving the Pioneer Football League after the 2005 season and returning to scholarship-granting competition in 2007 with the Ohio Valley Conference in which it competes in other sports. As a result, the conference was reverted to round-robin play and the divisions and championship game were removed. However, on April 7, 2006 Campbell University announced they would bring back football at the non-scholarship level for the 2008 season, and on December 5, 2007 they accepted an invitation to the PFL. [] . In February 2008, Marist announced that it would leave the MAAC Football League, and join the PFL for the 2009 season. []

Gridiron Classic

On May 16, 2006, the Pioneer Football League (PFL) and Northeast Conference (NEC) announced a two-year agreement to meet in the Gridiron Classic, an exempted postseason football game that will match the champions of the two FCS football conferences. The first two Gridiron Classics were won by the PFL champion. The Gridiron Classic agreement has since been extended through 2009. Should either the PFL or NEC champion be chosen for the NCAA playoffs, the second place finisher in that conference would play in the Gridiron Classic.


Gridiron Classic v. Northeast Conference champion

Conference facilities

External links

* [ Official website]

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