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University of Central Florida Joins Mid-American Conference

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University of Central Florida Joins Mid-American Conference

Contact: Derek Scott

11/1/2001

ORLANDO – The lineup of Ohio University’s Mid-American Conference East Division rivals has a new look. The MAC officially announced today that the University of Central Florida will become a football-only member of the league effective for the 2002 season.

The move increases the MAC membership in football to 14 with two divisions of seven teams. UCF will compete in the East Division along with Akron, Buffalo, Kent State, Marshall, Miami and Ohio. Bowling Green, which had been in the East, will move to the West Division and join Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan.

The announcement will heavily impact Ohio’s 2002 football schedule as the Bobcats were set to host UCF in a non-conference game next season. It was to be the first meeting of a four-year home-and-home contract that stretched into the 2005 season. Efforts are underway to replace those games with other non-conference matchups.

The MAC, headquartered in Cleveland, is one of only three conferences to hold a championship game with the divisional winners meeting each year for the league title. This year’s championship game, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 30 on ESPN, will be at the site of the West Division winner.

"This is a significant event in the 55-year history of our conference," said MAC Commissioner Rick Chryst. "UCF has established a solid football program at the I-A level in a very short time. They fit with our league both competitively and academically. We look forward to having UCF and the Orlando community as a part of the MAC."

UCF has competed at the Division I-A level since the 1996 season when current Minnesota Vikings quarterback Duante Culpepper led the Golden Knights to a respectable 5-6 record. Since competing at the I-A level, UCF has played eight games against top 25 ranked teams and holds a win over Alabama, 40-38, last year.

The Golden Knights are very familiar with MAC teams and have posted a 10-3 record versus league teams since 1996. MAC member Akron is this week’s UCF opponent at the Citrus Bowl with a 6:00 p.m. (ET) kickoff.

UCF plays its home games at the 70,188 seat Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Four of the top 10 UCF home crowds in Citrus Bowl history have come against MAC opponents. UCF has an enrollment of 35,000 with over 100,000 alumni.

Head coach Mike Kruczek (Boston College 1976) is in his fourth year at UCF. Kruczek played professionally for Pittsburgh (1976-80) and Washington (1981) in the NFL and has two Super Bowl rings. In his rookie season he stepped in for an injured Terry Bradshaw and led the Steelers to seven consecutive victories.

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