Established 1991
NCAA Division I (FCS)
Members 10
Sports fielded 1 (football) (men's: 1; women's: 0)
Region Nationwide
Headquarters St. Louis, Missouri
Commissioner Patty Viverito (since 1994)

The Pioneer Football League is a college athletic conference which operates in the East, Midwest, and California of the United States. It has member schools that range from New York, North Carolina, and Florida in the east to California in the west. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) as a football-only conference. Unlike most other Division I FCS conferences, the Pioneer League consists of institutions which choose not to award athletic scholarships ("grants-in-aid") to football players.

Teams[edit | edit source]

Team Location Stadium
Butler Bulldogs Indianapolis, Indiana Butler Bowl
Campbell Fighting Camels Buies Creek, North Carolina Barker-Lane Stadium
Davidson Wildcats Davidson, North Carolina Richardson Stadium
Dayton Flyers Dayton, Ohio Welcome Stadium
Drake Bulldogs Des Moines, Iowa Drake Stadium
Jacksonville Dolphins Jacksonville, Florida D.B. Milne Field
Marist Red Foxes Poughkeepsie, New York Leonidoff Field
Mercer Bears Macon, Georgia Mercer University Stadium
Morehead State Eagles Morehead, Kentucky Jayne Stadium
San Diego Toreros San Diego, California Torero Stadium
Stetson Hatters DeLand, Florida Spec Martin Stadium
Valparaiso Crusaders Valparaiso, Indiana Brown Field

Seasons[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Foundation[edit | edit source]

Following an NCAA rule change passed in January 1991, which required Division I schools to conduct all sports at the Division I level by 1993, the conference was formed by charter members Butler University, the University of Dayton, Drake University, the University of Evansville, and Valparaiso University. The University of San Diego joined in 1992, and the league played its first season in 1993. Talk of Creighton University and Bradley University joining the league in its origins never materialized by 1993. The six original schools which played in the 1993 season had previously sponsored football at the Division I, Division II and Division III levels.

Membership Changes[edit | edit source]

Original Contraction

The league was narrowed back to five members after Evansville downgraded football from Division I to club status in 1997. Evansville explored upgrading football again to NCAA Division I in 2007, but plans fell through. Studies still continue about a possible football resurrection, which would most likely lead to Evansville re-joining the league.

2001 Expansion

In 2001, the conference nearly doubled in size and was reorganized with the five current members forming the North Division, and newcomers Austin Peay State University, Davidson College, Jacksonville University and Morehead State University forming the South Division. This reorganization also spawned a new championship system in which the best record holders from each division would play in a title game for the conference championship.

2005-2008 Membership Changes

On April 8, 2005, Austin Peay announced that it would be leaving the Pioneer Football League after the 2005 season and returning to scholarship-granting competition in 2007 with the Ohio Valley Conference in which it competes in other sports. As a result, the conference was reverted to round-robin play and the divisions and championship game were removed. However, on April 7, 2006 Campbell University announced it would bring back football at the non-scholarship level for the 2008 season, and on December 5, 2007 it accepted an invitation to the PFL.[1] In February 2008, Marist College announced that it would join the PFL for the 2009 season, after the MAAC stopped sponsoring football.[2]

Membership timeline[edit | edit source]


Membership Information[edit | edit source]

Current members

Institution Location Founded First Football Year Affiliation Enrollment (Undergraduate) Joined Nickname Primary Conference
Butler University Indianapolis, Indiana 1855 1887 Private 3,897 1991 Bulldogs Horizon League
Campbell University Buies Creek, North Carolina 1887 1925 (2008) Private/Baptist 9,471 2008 Fighting Camels Atlantic Sun Conference
Davidson College Davidson, North Carolina 1837 1897 Private/Presbyterian 1,700 2001 Wildcats Southern Conference
University of Dayton Dayton, Ohio 1850 1905 Private/Catholic 7,426 1991 Flyers Atlantic 10 Conference
Drake University Des Moines, Iowa 1881 1883 Private 3,164 1991 Bulldogs Missouri Valley Conference
Jacksonville University Jacksonville, Florida 1934 1934 (1998) Private 7,426 2001 Dolphins Atlantic Sun Conference
Marist College Poughkeepsie, New York 1929 1985 Private 4,200 2009 Red Foxes MAAC
Morehead State University Morehead, Kentucky 1922 1927 Public 7,921 2001 Eagles Ohio Valley Conference
University of San Diego San Diego, California 1949 1956 Private/Catholic 4,904 1992 Toreros West Coast Conference
Valparaiso University Valparaiso, Indiana 1859 1919 Private/Lutheran 2,917 1991 Crusaders Horizon League

Former members

Institution Location Founded First Football Year Affiliation Enrollment (Undergraduate) Joined Left Nickname Left for
University of Evansville Evansville, Indiana 1854 1898 Private/Methodist 3,050 1991 1997 Purple Aces Downgraded football from NCAA Division I to club status
Austin Peay State University Clarksville, Tennessee 1927 1970 Public 8,650 2001 2006 Governors Ohio Valley Conference

Conference Championships[edit | edit source]

Locations of current Pioneer Football League member institutions.=== PFL Champions===

Season Champion Record
1993 Dayton 5–0–0
1994 Butler 4–1–0
Dayton 4–1–0
1995 Drake 5–0–0
1996 Dayton 5–0–0
1997 Dayton 5–0–0
1998 Drake 4–0
1999 Dayton 4–0
2000 Dayton 3–1
Drake 3–1
Valparaiso 3–1
2001 Dayton Championship Game
2002 Dayton Championship Game
2003 Valparaiso Championship Game
2004 Drake Championship Game
2005 San Diego Championship Game
2006 San Diego 7–0
2007 Dayton 6–1
2008 Jacksonville 7–1
2009 Butler/Dayton 7–1

PFL Championship Game[edit | edit source]

Season Season Champion Record Date Game Champion Score Runner-Up Location
2001 Dayton 4–0 Nov. 17, 2001 Dayton 46–14 Jacksonville Dayton, OH
2002 Dayton 4–0 Nov. 23, 2002 Dayton 28–0 Morehead State Morehead, KY
2003 Valparaiso 3–1 Nov. 22, 2003 Valparaiso 54–42 Morehead State Valparaiso, IN
2004 Drake 4–0 Nov. 20, 2004 Drake 20–17 Morehead State Morehead, KY
2005 San Diego 4–0 Nov. 19, 2005 San Diego 47–40 Morehead State San Diego, CA

Postseason Games[edit | edit source]

The Pioneer Football League has had alliances with the Gridiron Classic and the Sports Network Cup. In addition, league members are allowed to accept at-large invitations to other college bowl games and teams are eligible to compete in the FCS playoffs, but can only receive at-large bids because the league is not an automatic qualifier.

Members Pre-PFL Postseason Results[edit | edit source]

Pioneer Football League members have a tradition of football excellence. Below are postseason accomplishments by past and current members prior to the formaion of the Pioneer Football League.

Season Champion Runner-up Bowl
1945 Drake 13 Fresno State 12 Raisin Bowl
1946 Evansville 19 Northern Illinois 7 Turkey Bowl
1947 Evansville 20 Northern Illinois 0 Hoosier Bowl
1948 Drake 14 Arizona 13 Salad Bowl
1948 Evansville 13 Missouri Valley 7 Refrigerator Bowl
1949 Evansville 22 Hillsdale 7 Refrigerator Bowl
1950 Wisconsin-La Crosse 47 Valparaiso 14 Cigar Bowl
1951 Houston 26 Dayton 21 Salad Bowl
1957 Louisville 34 Drake 20 Sun Bowl
1969 Arkansas State 29 Drake 21 Pecan Bowl
1969 Toledo 56 Davidson 33 Tangerine Bowl
1972 Tennessee State 29 Drake 7 Pioneer Bowl
1973 Wittenberg 21 San Diego 14 Division III Playoffs
1974 Central(Iowa) 31 Evansville 14 Division III Playoffs
1980 Dayton 63 Ithaca 0 Stagg Bowl
1981 Widener 17 Dayton 10 Stagg Bowl
1983 Cal Davis 25 Butler 3 Division II Playoffs
1987 Wagner 19 Dayton 3 Stagg Bowl
1988 Tennessee-Martin 23 Butler 3 Division II Playoffs
1989 Dayton 17 Union (NY) 7 Stagg Bowl
1991 Ithaca 34 Dayton 20 Stagg Bowl
1991 Pittsburg State 26 Butler 16 Division II Playoffs

PFL Sports Network Cup Results[edit | edit source]

The Sports Network Cup was a yearly series between mid-major programs which concludes by coaches votes on the first week of December. The final two finishers are ranked by first place votes of the coaches in the now defunct Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), Northeast Conference (NEC) and the Pioneer Football League (PFL).

Season Champion Runner-up
1993 Dayton 27 Iona 3
1994 St. John's 17 Butler 13
1995 Duquesne 15 Drake 9
1996 Dayton 27 Duquesne 3
1997 Georgetown 28 Dayton 3
1998 Robert Morris 14 Drake 10
1999 Dayton 14 Robert Morris 6
2000 Duquesne 17 Davidson 7
2001 Sacred Heart 21 Dayton 7
2002 Dayton 17 Albany 7
2003 Duquesne 28 Valparaiso 3
2004 Monmouth 19 Drake 5
2005 San Diego 26 Duquesne 0

*Note: Score equals the number of first place votes

PFL Gridiron Classic Results[edit | edit source]

On May 16, 2006, the Pioneer Football League (PFL) and Northeast Conference (NEC) announced a four-year agreement to meet in the Gridiron Classic, an exempted postseason football game that match the champions of the two FCS football conferences.

Season Champion Runner-up
2006 San Diego 27 Monmouth 7
2007 Dayton 42 Albany 21
2008 Albany 28 Jacksonville 0
2009 Butler 28 Central Connecticut State 23

Conference facilities[edit | edit source]

School Football Stadium Capacity
Butler Butler Bowl 7,500[3]
Campbell Barker–Lane Stadium 5,200
Davidson Richardson Stadium 6,000
Dayton Welcome Stadium 11,000
Drake Drake Stadium 14,557[4]
Jacksonville D. B. Milne Field 5,500
Marist Leonidoff Field 5,000
Morehead State Jayne Stadium 10,000
San Diego Torero Stadium 6,000
Valparaiso Brown Field 5,000
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