Army declares independence
[ Originally posted 07.10.03 ]
WEST POINT, NY
(AP) Army's football team will leave Conference USA after the 2004 season
to play as an independent again.
Military Academy is making the move, in part, to have more flexibility in
scheduling, superintendent Lt. Gen. William Lennox Jr. said Thursday.
committed to building a competitive football program at the highest level,''
Army joined the
conference as a football-only member in 1998, after having been an
independent since 1890.
will leave Conference USA with 10 football schools.
``We are not
surprised. We have had ongoing discussions with the United States Military
Academy regarding the future of its football program and Conference USA,''
commissioner Britton Banowsky said. ``We have the greatest respect for the
Academy, its leadership and we know this decision was not an easy one for
officials voted Wednesday to enforce a bylaw preventing member schools from
leaving before June 30, 2005. They said the move would not keep a school
from leaving but shows the league is prepared to fight to maintain its
Lennox said the
decision was based on information provided by a panel commissioned to
evaluate the football program and propose ways to improve it. The panel
included Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, who was an assistant coach at
Army in the late 1960s, and former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne.
has been mired in mediocrity since the Black Knights began playing in
other athletic teams compete in the Patriot League, is 7-27 in five seasons
in Conference USA, winning no more than two league games in a season. The
Black Knights finished 1-11 in 2002 losing 58-12 to Navy in the season
finale and are 5-29 in three years under head coach Todd Berry.
Conference USA, Army's scheduling options became limited. With eight
conference games and the interservice games against archrivals Navy and Air
Force, the Black Knights only have one or two chances to schedule a regional
or national opponent.
conference obligations, this year Army has only one home game at Michie
Stadium in October, traditionally the peak month for attendance. The Academy
will host C-USA rival East Carolina on October 18.
The Associated Press. Bonesville.net contributed to this report. All rights
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