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Bryant leaves NEC, joins Big South as Football-Only Member

The Bulldogs are set to begin Big South play this fall.

Steven Ciocci/Bryant Athletics

Earlier this week it was announced that Bryant would be joining the Big South Conference as an associate member beginning in the 2022 season. The Bulldogs are immediately eligible to compete for the league's title as well as its automatic qualifier spot in the FCS playoffs.

"Bryant will be an outstanding member of Big South Conference football, and we look forward to welcoming them for the 2022 season," said Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander. "[Their] commitment to success on FCS football is real. From program growth, to personnel, to planned facility improvements, the Bulldogs are impressive in their approach to striving for, and achieving, excellence."

The Bulldogs have ascended the ranks relatively quickly. The university began playing football in 1999 at the Division II level before making the jump to the FCS just ten years later. From 2009 to 2021 Bryant played in the Northeast Conference and have gone 78-71 all-time as a Division I program.

"This is a great day for our department and for our football program," said Braynt athletic director Bill Smith. "This is a great opportunity for our football program to take the next step in its evolution and for our school to continue to grow its footprint across the country. We are excited to build new rivalries in the Big South and look forward to competing for championships.”

The Bulldogs will now play alongside Campbell, Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, North Carolina A&T and Robert Morris. The news is welcome to a conference that has been decimated by realignment this offseason. The Big South has lost Hampton, Kennesaw State, Monmouth, North Alabama and will be losing North Carolina A&T soon.

Bryant begins its 2022 season on September 1 against FIU.