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Controversy over Ravens’ exit from CSFL

by Paul Lambert ’22

The Franklin Pierce University Ravens’ had an early exit from the Collegiate Sprint Football League back in September. Other teams had been cancelling their games with the Ravens over concerns of Franklin Pierce repeatedly violating the rule regarding the weight limit of players in sprint football.

As Franklin Pierce has been recruiting players for its first season of Division II football in 2019, there are not enough players on the team below the CSFL’s weight limit of 178 pounds.

However, the Ravens still chose to play their first two games of the season, losing their opener 45-7 against Navy and beating Post 28-14.

In an article from The Daily Pennsylvanian, University of Pennsylvania’s student newspaper, Bill Wagner, head coach of UPenn sprint football, said he was unhappy to see the Ravens choose to play the lame-duck season with so many players over the CSFL weight limit.  “They recruited 20-plus scholar-athletes, some of which were over 250 pounds, some of those kids played in the first game of the season,” Wagner said in the article.

“I voted against them staying in the league,” he said in the article. “They should have been let go right away… Why would we want to play Franklin Pierce when they’re leaving the league to go play Division II football?”

Cornell decided to cancel their September 28th meeting against Franklin Pierce. Soon thereafter, Army followed suit and cancelled its game against the Ravens.

A joint statement by the CSFL and Franklin Pierce University on September 25th announced that due to next year’s move to Division II football and “an inability to field a full roster within the weight limits of the CSFL rules,” Franklin Pierce would be withdrawing from the league. The Ravens are not allowed in the postseason this year, nor are any players eligible for league awards and honors.

Other teams were allowed to cancel their games with Franklin Pierce with no repercussions or play the games with rosters both teams could agree on. Franklin Pierce has since filled the empty slots in the schedule with scrimmages against other teams.

Franklin Pierce University said in the statement that the move would allow new recruits to “gain valuable experience in games which mimic the level of competition it will see moving forward.”

“The moves grant all of our student-athletes the opportunity to see valuable snaps in situations which will resemble those they will see next year in the Northeast-10 Conference,” said Rashad Watson, Franklin Pierce head coach.

Franklin Pierce Athletics and UPenn head coach were contacted for more insight, but did not respond by press time.


Photo by Hannah Cuzner ’21

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