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Livingstone travels to Lynchburg to battle Dragons

By Dennis Davidson

dennis.davidson@salisburypost.com

Livingstone College’s Blue Bears travel to Lynchburg, Va., this weekend for what could be a challenging game.

No, the University of Virginia-Lynchburg Dragons, shouldn’t be a problem for the Blue Bears, 1-0, after pounding Benedict, 49-6, in the Sept. 5 opener.

The challenge could be focus, as today’s 1 p.m. game turns out to be little more than a scrimmage. The NCAA declared this summer that UVL is one of 34 teams on a list of non-countable programs. In other word, today’s game will not affect Livingstone’s won-loss record, nor with the statistics count for the Blue Bears’ yardage totals.

Elizabeth City State, like Livingstone, a member of the CIAA, found this out last week as the Vikings creamed VUL, 71-0. ECSU jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and outgained the Dragons for the game, 627 yards to 62. However, the CIAA website still has the Vikings record at 0-0.

So why make the trip to Lynchburg? In Livingstone’s defense, the game against VUL counted last season, a 60-12 victory in Salisbury. Livingstone is simply fulfilling its contractual obligation by returning the game this season.  The NCAA decided to crack down on the non-counters and it is unfortunate that the Blue Bears won’t be 2-0 after today.

According to the NCAA’s statement, for games to be considered for statistics (including rankings and records), the following must be true:

“The institution must be four-year and degree granting; the opponent must be considered a varsity intercollegiate team as defined by NCAA bylaw 17 and must be considered countable competition as defined by NCAA bylaws 31.3.3.1 (Divisions I and II) and 31.3.4.1.1 (Division III); and the the institution must satisfy one of the following — be an active, provisional or reclassifying member of the NCAA; or is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting bodies in the United States.”

Apparently, VUL, founded in 1886 as a seminary, does not meet accreditation or membership requirements.

But Livingstone coach Daryl Williams is not treating today’s game like an NFL preseason contest, where the starters play just a little or not at all.  He said that the team is approaching the game like always.

“We’re going to play it like any other game,” said Williams. “Any time you can play and get reps, it makes you better.  We’re looking forward to see if the corrections that we made from last week come together with all of the positive things the team did in the first game.

“Livingstone football has been down for so long, any time that we can play for a win, it’s a good thing,” continued Williams. “We’re not good enough yet to rest players and all of that. We need reps so we can be ready for our conference games.”

So, according to Williams, the Blue Bears will treat the contest like a game, even though it doesn’t count as one.

And next week has the same scenario. Livingstone’s home opener, the West End Classic, sees the Central International University team coming to Alumni Stadium for a 1 o’clock kickoff.

CIU, also in Lynchburg, fails to meet the necessary criteria for a countable game as well. Again, Williams hopes to have his team play well, win and build on its confidence, something he calls the “process.”

“We are in the process of building tradition and building a program at Livingstone,” added Williams, in his third year as head coach. “Tradition doesn’t graduate, you simply replace great people with more great people and keep the program moving forward.  This is about more than one game here or one win there.”

 

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