FCS FOOTBALL: ASUN-WAC once again join forces

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May 19—A year ago, the ASUN and the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) formed an alliance which allowed at least one team an automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoffs.

The partnership — which was called the AQ7 and featured seven teams — was supposed to be only temporary.

A year later, the conferences find themselves in a very similar situation.

Following the departure of Jacksonville State (ASUN) and Sam Houston State (WAC) to the Conference USA, both leagues were left with only five members eligible for the FCS Playoffs — one short of NCAA's minimum requirement.

On Tuesday, the conferences announced their renewal of their alliance for the 2022 season.

"The ASUN and the WAC made history this past year with the creation of a new AQ through a collaborative partnership," ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart said. "Extending it to ensure the AQ opportunity we created is available to all the partners that helped build it makes great sense, especially under the primary ASUN Beam: Students First. The WAC has outstanding football and we look forward to extending our ASUN-WAC partnership."

The ASUN and WAC schools will play a full season season among their own members and both will have their own separate honors, awards and championships. One of the two league winners will get the automatic bid to the playoffs, but as of now, the final policy on which conference winner will get that AQ has not yet been determined.

The ASUN division will consist of Eastern Kentucky University, North Alabama, Austin Peay, Central Arkansas and Kennesaw State. Jacksonville State is set to play a full ASUN conference schedule, but will not be eligible for the league championship of the postseason.

The WAC division will be made up of Abilene Christian, Lamar, Stephen F. Austin, Southern Utah and the University of Incarnate World. Sam Houston State will also play a WAC schedule, but is ineligible for championships for the postseason.

Two other WAC schools — Utan Tech and Tarleton State — are in the third years of the four-year reclassification process after moving up from NCAA Division II and are also ineligible for the FCS Playoffs.

EKU was 7-4 last season and did not receive an at-large bid to the postseason.

The new configuration will be the fourth different scheduling setup for the Colonels in the past four seasons.

In 2019, EKU played its final season in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Colonels played an independent, non-conference schedule in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, followed by the AQ7 in 2021 and the ASUN-WAC Challenge in 2022.