UMass adds two football games for 2022 season

Staff Writer
Published: 9/5/2019 6:47:01 PM
Modified: 9/5/2019 6:46:51 PM

AMHERST — The continued scramble around the 2022 UMass football schedule gained some clarity Wednesday.

The Minutemen have added a game at Texas A&M onto the slate and replaced a September road trip to Boston College with a home game against FCS Stony Brook. was the first to report that UMass and Texas A&M had agreed to the Nov. 19 game for a reported $1.7 million. The Aggies are the ninth SEC school to schedule the Minutemen since UMass moved up to FBS football in 2012. The deal also ensures the Minutemen will have a Power Five opponent on their schedule every year through 2025.

Prior to Stony Brook’s announcement on the 2022 contest, UMass had a 12-game schedule for that season that was comprised of eight road games and four home games, including five straight away contests to start the season. With the addition of the Sea Wolves on Sept. 17, the Minutemen have split that section into a pair of two-game road trips in the first five weeks.

In an interview last month, UMass athletics director Ryan Bamford admitted there are still a lot of moving pieces with the 2022 schedule and that “by no means has the dust settled” on the matchups. Although there isn’t the typical balance between home and away games in 2022, Bamford said UMass painted itself into a corner a little bit with its contracts and might have to only play five home games one season.

“In college football scheduling, there’s always a chance for change,” Bamford said. “We have 12 dates that we’ve sort of outlined and either have signed agreements or have agreed verbally. There’s going to be a year in the future because of our 2-for-1s and some of the things we’ve done in scheduling to play certain opponents and to get favorable matchups, one year we’re going to have to play five home games. The way the scheduling has broken down with who’s available and what our needs are, we’re probably going to have to have a year where we’re going to play five home games. That may be in 22, that may be in another future year.”

By postponing the game at Boston College, UMass only has one game scheduled with the Commonwealth’s only other FBS team for the time being – a 2021 home game for the Minutemen. The Eagles have been notoriously difficult to schedule in certain sports despite the proximity between the two campuses and UMass requesting a game on an almost annual basis.

On the football side, however, Bamford said there has always been a good line of communication between the two schools. Yet, Bamford said he’s hesitant to put Boston College on the schedule every year because it would mean UMass would lose a Power Five game each year that it could otherwise profit from.

“They’ve been great about scheduling games (in football),” Bamford said. “I don’t think they have nor do we have the appetite to do it every year just because if we’re going to play FBS Power Five opponents, one, we would like to play them in our own building and two, we’d like if we’re going to play them on the road, we’d like to have a payday associated with it just because that makes sense to us. To load BC in there every year would just mean we’re adding a Power Five without value outside of just playing an in-region opponent. To have them two out of every five years, so probably four times in 10 years probably makes sense for balance.”

A10 SCHEDULE RELEASED – The Atlantic 10 released the conference’s full men’s basketball schedule Tuesday and identified which games would be on national television through the league’s broadcast partners.

UMass will feature on NBC Sports Network five times during conference play, starting with the A10 opener at Saint Louis on Jan. 5. The Minutemen return to the network less than a week later at Dayton on Jan. 11 and NBCSN will also broadcast home games on Jan. 18 against George Washington, Feb. 9 against George Mason and Feb. 15 against Dayton.

CBS Sports Network will be on site for three UMass games, including the Dec. 4 showdown with South Carolina at the Mullins Center. During A10 play, CBSSN will have the call for consecutive road contests at Davidson and Rhode Island on Feb. 1 and 4.

The Minutemen host La Salle on Jan. 8 for their first A10 home game and they also end the season at home with a March 7 matchup against Rhode Island.

LaFRENIERE SET TO RETIRE – UMass announced Monday that longtime women’s cross country and track and field coach Julie LaFreniere will retire at the end of the academic year. This year will be LaFreniere’s 33rd as the Minutewomen’s coach and has been named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year on 12 different occasions.

The 1977 UMass alum has led the Minutewomen to seven A10 cross country titles, three conference championships in indoor track and two more in outdoor track. She coached four All-Americans in women’s track and field, including UMass’ first in 1995 – Kelly Liljeblad in the 10,000 meters. She also coached the Minutewomen’s first cross country All-American – Heather MacLean in 2017.

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