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UMass announces three additions to its future football schedule; Donald Trump announces a fourth

  • President Donald Trump gives the commencement address for the Class of 2017 at Liberty University. In his speech he announced that UMass would play football at Liberty in 2018. AP

  • The Rutgers mascot cheers with fans during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Syracuse at High Points Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. Rutgers won 23-15. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) Mel Evans

  • Massachusetts head coach Mark Whipple, right, talks with quarterback Andrew Ford (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina defeated Massachusetts 34-28. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford) Sean Rayford



@MattVautourDHG
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

UMass will play a pair of Big Ten teams for big money in 2019, as the Minutemen announced addition to their future football schedules.

UMass will play Rutgers and Northwestern in 2019. The Scarlet Knights, who’ll host the Minutemen on Aug. 31, will pay $1.3 million for the game. Maine, which was UMass’ original season-opneing opponent agreed to moved to a later but undetermined date that season.

The Wildcats will give the Minutemen $1.2 million for their Nov. 16 meeting, according to UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford.

UMass also has road games scheduled at Charlotte, Florida International, Louisiana Tech and Army. The Minutemen are hosting UConn and BYU in 2019, but contractually those games are currently scheduled for Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. UMass has four games to add, all likely at home.

An Aug. 25 game against Duquesne at McGuirk Stadium has been added to the 2018 schedule. The Dukes, who play in the Championship Subdivision, will get $275,000 for the game. That game can be played a week earlier than when most teams start their seasons because Duquesne plays Hawaii in 2018. NCAA allows opponents of the Rainbow Warriors to start early.

Not included among UMass’ newly announced games is a 2018 contest against Liberty in Amherst. President Donald Trump, who was the commencement speaker at the Lynchburg, Virginia, school, leaked the existence of that game as part of his speech.

It wasn’t fake news as Liberty confirmed the matchup shortly afterward. The game will complete UMass’ 2018 schedule.

“I was kind of hoping he might say ‘Watch out for the Minutemen,’” Bamford joked Wednesday.

The reason UMass hasn’t announced the game is that it’s part of a four-game series and the remaining three haven’t been finalized yet.

The 2019 game replaces the scheduled matchup with Troy in Amherst. The game with the Trojans has been pushed back to a later year, likely 2020 according to Bamford. Liberty will also play at Troy in 2019.

Playing Liberty, which will still be in the process of upgrading its program from the FCS to the Bowl Subdivision, would mean a reunion with former UMass athletic director Ian McCaw, who was hired to lead Liberty’s department last year.

McCaw resigned at Baylor following that school’s much-publicized sexual-assault scandal involving the football program.

Bamford said the schedules fit the template he’s hoping to use regularly going forward:

One FCS opponent.

Two or three games against Power Five caliber opponents (he’s including BYU, a top-shelf independent among these).

Eight or nine group of five schools.

Bamford said the 2019 slate is close to done, while 2020 and 2021 aren’t far off.

“We might be completely done with the 2019 schedule within the next month. We have people lined up. I haven’t worked out all the dates yet,” Bamford said. “I think it’s going to be pretty good. My goal is to get 2019 done within the next month, and 2020 and 2021 by the end of the summer.”

Bamford said the November game vs. Maine at Fenway Park could be the start of more games there.

“We have nothing brewing with Fenway. But with games in November, we’ll look to Gillette and Fenway and see what makes the most sense. Between Fenway and Gillette I think we can get to one of them at least every other year.”

WOMEN’S LACROSSE ALL-AMERICANS — UMass seniors Hannah Murphy and Sarah Crowley each earned IWCLA All-America honors.

Murphy was a second-team selection after leading the nation with 212 draw controls.

Crowley was picked for the third team after leading the Minutewoman defense.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage