UMass football hopes to find new conference where it can be competitive in

By Morning Wood Staff

Collegian File Photo
(Collegian File Photo)

By Steve Rogers

The Massachusetts football team will enter the 2016-17 season in search of another conference to call home after four years as an FBS team in the Mid-America Conference, where it went 7-25.

The lack of success coupled with the high cost of Division I football has led to a lot of criticism among the UMass fan base. Levels of resentment are growing within the UMass community on the amount of money spent compared to the low number of victories.

But athletic director Ryan Bamford remains optimistic.

“I think it gives a better idea of the cost of winning at this level,” Bamford said in an exclusive one-on-one interview with The Morning Wood. “I think that if you look at our work over the course of the past four seasons, there’s no reason why conferences shouldn’t be coming to us, asking to join their leagues.”

Some UMass football fans have begun to question if such a conference fit exists in the FBS. When the question was raised to Bamford, the color in his face was noticeably reduced as he reached for a bottle of water.

“Yes of course it does,” Bamford said after swallowing hard. “The Minutemen most certainly belong at this level; it’s just a mater of finding the right fit. Yeah, that’s it… the right fit.”

When asked which conferences the program was looking into, Bamford declined to answer. He then abruptly ended the conference and left the room with little explanation.

Sources indicate that Bamford has been involved in one-sided contact with commissioners of the American Athletic Conference and Atlantic Coastal Conference among other Division I conferences.

According to these sources, Bamford has left several voicemails, texts, emails, Snapchats and handwritten letters to no response.

When questioned about the possibility of adding UMass to its quickly expanding conference, ACC commissioner John Swofford swiftly declined the notion.

“Look, we already have one underperforming Massachusetts team we want to get rid of,” said Swofford, referring to Boston College’s 0-26 combined football and basketball conference record this past year.

AAC commissioner Michael Aresco declined to comment on the situation due to the fact that he has cut off all sources of communication that are in any way connected to UMass due to the high volume of messages from its athletic department and over-ambitious fan base.

If the AAC or ACC doesn’t work out, Bamford indicated UMass may consider joining either the Bay State Conference, Hockomock League or Pioneer Valley league, depending on if the situation was right.

“All of those conferences have young, upcoming talent. I think we could be very competitive playing against kids 14 to 18 years old,” Bamford said. “The University of Massachusetts would make a great fit in any of those three leagues.”

When The Morning Wood attempted to talk with Minutemen coach Mark Whipple about possible future conference scenarios, he responded in a statement saying, “*grunt**grunt*, I don’t know, you’ll have to ask the players.”

However, when the staff was leaving the Performance Center Wednesday evening, Whipple was seen sitting by the window in his office, clutching UMass’ 1998 national championship trophy tightly to his chest while staring off into the sky over McGuirk Stadium as if he were wrapped up in memories of success long, long ago.

Steve Rogers cannot be reached. Ever. EVER.