A plan waiting for final approval to expand the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs would give the Pioneer Football League an automatic bid beginning with the 2013 season.
Drake is one of the founding members of the PFL, which was established in 1991 for schools that offered division one basketball and non-scholarship football.
Drake coach Chris Creighton says the NCAA president has gone on record that this is going to happen in 2013 and be finalized in the August meetings.
No PFL team has ever received an at-large bid into what used to be called the one-double-a national playoffs and it is the only conference that has requested an automatic bid but does not have one.
Creighton says the proposal would increase the playoff field from 20 to 24, with three of the new spots being at-large bids. “That’s why all the other conferences are excited about it, they are fine with us getting if it allows for three more at-larges for other conferences to get a second or even a third-place team into the playoffs. It makes sense for everybody,” Creighton says.
Creighton says PFL teams are playing more games against scholarship FCS programs and the league deserves a bid. Drake will host Montana State next season and will also play at game at Indiana State. ” I think what it will do is just clear up any faulty perception that the Pioneer Football League is sort of its own league without an affiliation,” Creighton says.
“We’re a part of the Football Championship Subdivision, and then like the Ivy League and the Patriot League, we are one of three conferences that chooses not to give scholarships. The Ivy League choose not to go to the playoffs, the Patriot League does, and the Pioneer League does not.”
Drake won the PFL championship this past season but did not have a post-season opportunity. That will likely change for the 2013 season.
“When we won the championship this last year at our Monday meeting after the final game, there was obvious enthusiasm and excitement, and but there was also some emptiness, you just has this feeling that we’re not done yet…when you haven’t gone as far as you can go and then get knocked out, it’s an unsettling feeling,” Creighton explains.