CSU drops Newberry from football schedule for 2015

Charleston Southern has officially dropped Newberry College from its 2015 football schedule, it was announced via release on Monday by the Newberry College athletic department.

The schools were scheduled to meet at Newberry as part of a return game from 2014. CSU defeated Newberry, 16-10, in September and the 2015 game was slated for September 12.

In December, Charleston Southern announced it would play Troy on September 12 but did not announce the cancellation of the Newberry game.

"This had a lot more to do with an opportunity to add a Division I opponent to our schedule than anything with Newberry," said CSU athletic director Hank Small. "The bottom line for us is that we have won 18 games in the last two years and have failed to make the FCS playoffs. In evaluating our program, we looked at being nationally-ranked, winning 18 games, and we didn't make the playoffs.

"It all comes down to having enough Division I games. Winning a Division II game frankly does nothing for us. The more opportunity to win Division I games, the better our chances of making the FCS playoffs. We did not have seven Division I wins last year."

The domino effect of schedule changes created by the dissolution of the football program at UAB gave Troy an opening in its 2015 schedule. CSU opted to fill that void, for a guarantee, thus buying out of its' two-year contract with Newberry.

"In all game contracts, there are buyouts for both sides," said Small. "We have the highest respect for Newberry and for coach Todd Knight. Our thinking a few years ago was that a home and home with Newberry would be a great thing. As we moved forward and had the success that we have had in the last two years, it became very apparent that we needed to play more Division I opponents in order to give our program the best opportunities going forward. We hated to do something like this. We have been on the other end of these types of things in the past."

Small indicated that beginning in 2016, the Big South will allow member schools to play only one non-Division I opponent in a season. On next year's schedule, the lone non-Division I opponent is North Greenville, in the season opener.

"This has been ongoing. We have been searching long before this game with Troy became available for Division I opponents that we could play," said Small, who also said that North Greenville is the preferable non-Division I opponent in the future. "We were trying to find an FBS or FCS opponent to play, instead of playing any more Division II schools."

CSU's other non-conference games in 2015 are Alabama, East Tennessee State and The Citadel. Kennesaw State, the Big South's newest member, will also be on the schedule.